Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eastern Indigo Snake

Drymarchon corais couperi

The eastern indigo snake is a large, black, non venomous snake found in the southeastern U.S. It is widely distributed throughout central and South Florida, but primarily occurs in sand hill habitats in northern Florida and southern Georgia


The eastern indigo snake is the longest snake in the United States (R. Hammer, Metro Dade Park and Recreation, personal communication 1998), reaching lengths of up to265 cm (Ashton and Ashton 1981). Its color is uniformly lustrous-black, dorsally and ventrally, except for a red orcream-colored suffusion of the chin, throat, and sometimes the cheeks. Its scales are large and smooth (the central 3 to5 scale rows are lightly keeled in adult males) in 17 scale rows at mid body. Its anal plate is undivided. Its antepenultimate supralabial scale does not contact the temporal or post ocular scales.


Over most of its range, the eastern indigo snake frequents several habitat types, including pine flat woods, scrubby flat woods, high pine, dry prairie, tropical hardwood hammocks, edges of freshwater marshes, agricultural fields, coastal dunes, and human-altered habitats


The eastern indigo snake is an active terrestrial and fossorial predator that will eat any vertebrate small enough to be overpowered.


Indigo snakes range over large areas and into various habitats throughout the year, with most activity occurring in the summer and fall (Smith 1987, Moler 1985b, Speake 1993). In Georgia, the average range of the eastern indigo snake is 4.8 ha during the winter (December to April), 42.9 ha during late spring and early summer (May to July), and 97.4 ha during late summer and fall (August to November) (Speake et al. 1978).

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