The eastern indigo snake is an eight-foot-long bluish-black, nonvenomous beauty that hasn’t been seen in the wilds of Alabama for five decades. That, hopefully, is about to change, because a few weeks ago, Zoo Atlanta released 25 eastern indigos into the Conecuh National Forest as part of an ongoing program to reestablish the snake’s original range. 200 snakes in total have been released so far.
These apex predators are the longest snake in North America, and their genus, Drymarchon, basically means “forest lord.” And that title really isn’t an exaggeration: eastern indigos make a meal out of just about anything they can fit in their mouths – including rattlesnakes! Alas, during the last half of the 20th century, they proved no match for habitat loss, cars, and human antipathy. However, vehicular collisions and ophidiophobia aside, their ability to keep other species in check is a remarkable and vital part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and part of why conservation projects like this are so valuable.
★ (2018, Florida) The Eastern Indigo Snake Returns
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