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Lets do the time warp again.....


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Posted by regalringneck on February 10, 2003 at 03:43:46:

Its awfully early (or l8t...) but mojo n I couldnt sleep, tossing & turning...figured we'd tune in & see if any interesting posts were around...now mojos wondering if we went thru a wormhole & woala, we're back w/ the old forum...
Hoo-ray...hiss hiss hoo-ray... :)

Now a nugget for some of you; tonites continuing education module...

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
DIVISION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES

SPECIES ACCOUNTS


Source: Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States (The Red Book) FWS Region 4 -- As of 1/91
EASTERN INDIGO SNAKE

(Drymarchon corais couperi)

FAMILY: Colubridae

STATUS: Threatened, Federal Register, January 31, 1979

DESCRIPTION: The eastern indigo snake is a large, docile, non-poisonous snake growing to a maximum length of about 8 feet. The color in both young and adults is shiny bluish-black, including the belly, with some red or cream coloring about the chin and sides of the head.

The indigo subdues its prey (including venomous snakes) through the use of its powerful jaws, swallowing the prey usually still alive. Food items include snakes, frogs, salamanders, toads, small mammals, birds, and occasionally young turtles.

REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: Indigo snakes probably reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 years of age. Based on observations of captive indigos at Auburn University, mating begins in November, peaks in December, and continues into March. Clutches averaging eight to nine eggs laid in late spring hatch approximately 3 months later. The snakes remain active to some degree throughout the winter, often emerging from their dens whenever air temperatures exceed 5O degrees Fahrenheit.

RANGE: This species is currently known to occur throughout Florida and in the coastal plain of Georgia. Historically, the range also included southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, and the extreme southeastern portion of South Carolina.

HABITAT: The indigo snake seems to be strongly associated with high, dry, well-drained sandy soils, closely paralleling the sandhill habitat preferred by the gopher tortoise. During warmer months, indigos also frequent streams and swamps, and individuals are occasionally found in flat woods. Gopher tortoise burrows and other subterranean cavities are commonly used as dens and for egg laying.

The home range of indigos varies considerably according to season. Based on a study conducted in southwest Georgia, Speake et al., (1978) reported an average seasonal range of 4.8 hectares during the winter (December through April), 42.9 hectares during late spring or early summer (May through July), and 97.4 hectares during late summer and fall (August through November). The most extensive monthly movements occurred during August. Of a total of 1O8 den sites located, 77 percent were in gopher tortoise burrows, 18 percent were in or under decayed stumps and logs, and 5 percent were under plant debris. The study area included windrows of debris piled up in the 196O's during site preparation for a slash pine plantation. The snakes showed some tendency to prowl and locate their dens near these windrows.

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: The decline is attributed to a loss of habitat due to such uses as farming, construction, forestry, pasture, etc., and to over-collecting for the pet trade. The snake's large size and docile nature have made it much sought after as a pet. The effect of Rattlesnake Roundups on the indigo snake are speculative. Both indigos and rattlers utilize the burrows of gopher tortoises at certain times. Rattlesnake hunters often pour gasoline down these burrows to drive out the snakes. While some indigos may be killed by this practice, the actual degree of impact on the population is unknown.

MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION: The ultimate recovery plan objective is to delist the species by insuring that numerous indigo snake populations exist and are reproducing and protected where suitable habitat still exists in the historical range of the species. Before these objectives can be accomplished, research is necessary to: (1) develop population monitoring methods; (2) determine habitat requirements of juveniles; and (3) determine captive breeding and restocking potential of the species. Establishment of protected areas of good habitat as reintroduction sites and sanctuaries is thought to be important, as is the improvement of public attitude and behavior towards the indigo snake.

Recovery tasks currently being implemented include habitat management through controlled burning, testing experimental miniature radio transmitters for tracking of juvenile indigo snakes, maintenance of a captive breeding colony at Auburn University, recapture of formerly released snakes to confirm survival in the wild, presentation of education lectures and field trips, and efforts to obtain landowner cooperation in indigo snake conservation efforts.

REFERENCES:

Odum, R.R., J.R. McCollum, M.A. Neville, and D.R. Ettman. 1977. Georgia's Protected Wildlife. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Game and Fish Division. Social Circle, Georgia 51 pp.

Speake, D.W., J.A. McGlincy, and T. R. Colvin. 1978. Ecology and Management of the Eastern Indigo Snake in Georgia: A Progress Report. pp. 64-73. In: R.R. Odum and L. Landers, Eds. Proceedings of Rare and Endangered Wildlife Symposium., Georgia Department of Natural Resources., Game and Fish Division., Technical Bulletin. WL 4.

**U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1982. Eastern Indigo Snake Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Atlanta, Georgia. 23 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1978. Part 17 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing of the Eastern Indigo Snake as a Threatened species. Federal Register, 43(21):4026-4028.

For more information please contact:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
31OO University Boulevard, South Suite 12O
Jacksonville, Florida 32216

Telephone: 9O4/791-





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