Eastern Indigo Snake

Drymarchon corais couperi

A Long, Longleaf Icon

The eastern indigo snake, the longest nonvenomous snake in North America, is one of the most iconic species of the longleaf pine ecosystem. Their name comes from the purple iridescent color of its black scales in the sunlight. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, it has become a rare sight in its range.

About the Species

This beautiful Florida native snake is often associated with gopher tortoises because it will use their burrows as a home.

The Eastern Indigo is a non-venomous snake that uses its strong jaws to capture and kill its prey. Often called the "Emperor of the Forest", the eastern indigo snake has some of the largest home ranges of any snake- up to 200 acres! It used to be found abundantly throughout the southeastern United States, but has lost much of its habitat due to human influences. Thankfully, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is working to help save this important native species. The Zoo's Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation actively breeds eastern indigo snakes for research and reintroduction. Eastern indigo snakes have been released back into their natural habitats in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Learn more about our work to save these amazing snakes here.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Eastern indigo snakes are ophiophagous, meaning they eat other snakes, including venomous species.

Madison

Did You Know?

Eastern indigo snakes lay soft-shelled eggs that have a rough surface.

Facts

Origin

Florida and Southeast Georgia

Habitat

Scrubs, sandhills, swamps, flatwoods

Size

2.6 meters (about 8 feet)

Diet

Other snakes, birds, small mammals

Predators

Young preyed upon by many animals

Natural Defenses

Strong jaws

Reproduction

4–12 eggs per clutch

Status

Least Concern (Protected in U.S.)

Life Expectancy

Up to 25 years in human care

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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