Indigo Snake


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Colubridae

GENUS: Drymarchon

SPECIES: corais couperi

DESCRIPTION:
This is a large thick-bodied snake. Average adults are five to six feet long, with some specimens attaining nearly nine feet in length. It is glossy blue-black with an iridescent sheen. Throat is red, orange, or reddish-brown and belly is cloudy orange and blue-gray. Pupils are round.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Georgia, Florida and the Florida Keys, Also seen in southern South Carolina and Alabama. They like sandy open woodland, especially areas of sabal palm, palmetto, pine and scrub oaks. They will be near water sources and agricultural areas.

DIET:
They forage for such prey as mice, rats, birds, frogs, lizards and other snakes. They will even eat small turtles, an unusual food for snakes.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Diurnal. Mating takes place in late fall and early winter after which an average of a dozen eggs are deposited in rotted logs or mammal or tortoise burrows. Hatchlings may be two feet in length. Life span in the wild is 11 years; in captivity up to 21 years.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
It kills small vertebrate animals by crushing with its jaws and the sheer weight of its coils, but is not a constrictor.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
This is the largest non-venomous snake in the United States and one of the largest of all colubrids. Like King Snakes they will attack and consume venomous snakes. When annoyed, they hiss, vibrate their tails and flatten their necks.

OUR ANIMALS:
male (b. 2000) He is used in our Education and Zoomobile programs and is not viewable by the public.

STATUS IN WILD:
Since 1978 it has been listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. Loss of habitat, collection for the pet trade and poisoning from pesticides have caused a serious decline.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Internet: www.britannica.com; www.flmnh.ufl.edu;
  2. Mehrtens, John. Living Snakes of the World. 1987. Sterling Publishing Co, Inc. New York, P. 137. CL: 11/09

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