COSAM News Articles 2015 August Auburn University scientists release indigo snakes into Conecuh National Forest

Auburn University scientists release indigo snakes into Conecuh National Forest

Published: 08/03/2015

By: Lindsay Miles

Scientists from the Auburn University Museum of Natural History and the Natural Heritage Program released nine threatened indigo snakes into Conecuh National Forest in south Alabama on July 24. The snakes were released as part of an on-going reintroudction project coordinated by Auburn University to reestablish the eastern indigo snake in its native habitat in south Alabama. 

Before reintroduction efforts began in 2011, there had been no confirmed sightings of the Eastern indigo snake in the wild in Alabama since the mid-1950s. 

The eastern indigo snake is non-venomous and has a lustrous, glossy, iridescent blue-black coloring of the head and body. It is the longest snake in North America and may reach a size of 8.5 ft. and a weight of 11 lbs. for males, and 6.5 ft. and 6.5 lbs. for females. 

The harmless eastern indigo snake likes to eat copperheads. The copperhead is a venomous snake responsible for more snake bites in the Southeastern United States than any other snake. Copperhead observations are increasing, and, in south Alabama, population growth of the copperhead could be due to the absence of the once-prevalent eastern indigo snake.

The release was coordinated by Auburn University and represents a collaboration among the following partners: Auburn University; Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Forest Service.

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