Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adopt a Species Assignment for Biology

Mr. Mann,
In response to your queries on the commercial use of the wild species in our program, here is what we at the lab have come up with:

The East Indigo Snake, Drymarchon couperi

Complete Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Craniata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squmata
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Drymarchon
 3 Marketable Adaptions:   
  • Length: The East Indigo is the largest nonvenomous snake in North America. They reach lengths of 6 to 8 feet.
  • Color: This snakes coloring is a striking iridescent black.
  • Immunity to venom: This snake is immune to the venom found in snakes; as a result it will eat other snakes.
Species Background:
This species of non-venomous snake has been in our breeding program since 1978 when it was put on the threatened list.  Factors that have led to the decline of this snake are disforestation, over collection by pet trade, and gassing of gofer tortoise burrows.

Because the East Indigo snake is nonaggressive, nonvenomous, and aesthetically pleasing we feel it is the perfect candidate for a marketable release. We would like to offer certain areas of the country the privilege of buying a species release program. This program would consist of East Indigo candidates who have been epically bred for nonaggression toward humans and size to distinguish them from any other snake in the surrounding area.

This release would serve three purposes:

  1. To inform the public of this snake
  2. To redistribute the E. Indigo into declining areas
  3. To offer the assistance of an E. Indigo as a means for pest control.
Many Americans are being overrun by rodents and venomous snakes due to the lack of E. Indigo in their areas. Most of these people solve this pest infestation by either buying a cat or using poison. But for those individuals who are allergic to cats and hesitant to use poison around their house this would be a safe, natural solution.

The Process:
Once paid our team will go to the Client’s property install simulated gofer tortoise burrows, and release the snake. We would then check on the snakes progress 3 weeks out, 3 months out, 6 months out then finally a year to make sure is it is properly settled in to its new environment.

Foreseeable Side Effect
Even though these snakes are indigenous to the regions we would be introducing them into, it may damage the ecosystem. Also these snakes have been bred larger than their wild counterpoints they may now be genetically different enough to be considered a new species.

Every time humanity interferes with nature it damages it irreversibly. I personally think that no matter how profitable this venture there will unforeseeable changes to the ecosystem in the areas we release these snakes into.

Thanks for your time,
Meredith Cawley

Works Cited

Florida Collier County Environmental Services

Savannah Ecology Laboratory Herpetology Program

The Titi Tudorancea Bulletin


Florida’s Species Recovery Program


Monday, June 13, 2011

Mistaken Identity?

As Ive been looking in to the E. Indigo Ive noticed several references to the confusion between the Indigo and the Black Racer snake. As you can see they look quite similar. Can you pick out which is the E. Indigo?

If you guessed the one on the right: You are correct!
But you could see how easy it would be to mistake one for the other. But no worries my friends the Black Racer is also nonvenomous and eats venomous snake. But if you are curious here are some tips.

The Black Racer                    The East Indigo
Skinny bodied                           Thick bodied         
Aggressive                                 Typically calm
3 1/2 to 5 feet                           6-8 feet                
Color varies                               Dark Iridescent blue/black
                                                  touch of red on throat

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eastern Indigo on Facebook?!!!!

Hey Guys!

While scanning Google for more information I saw some Facebook pages involving the E. Indigo. There are some pretty awesome things happening out there.

Three weeks ago an album called Eastern Indigo Snake was posted to Alabama's Ecological Service Facebook page.

Flipping through the album it was pretty awesome to watch these snakes slither off. I added a link to the album take a look!

Link to Alabama Ecological Service fb:

Link to Eastern Indigo release album

Found more pics of this release on Auburn University facebook. Heres a pic from that

Auburn University's college of mathematics and science:

Auburn University' snake release album:

Here is a link to a E. Indigo fan page on fb:

found Auburn Universities Newspaper article on their involvement of the reintroduction of E. Indigo to Alabama


and a youtube video about it:

Stat Sheet

Here is some basic infomation on the Eastern Indigo Snake:

Basic Information
Scientific Name: Drymarchon couperi

Meaning: The Latin name for the genus Drymarchon roughly translates to “Lord of the Forest”. It is composed of the Greek words Drymos (Δρυμός), meaning "forest", and Archon(ἄρχων), meaning "lord" or "ruler".

Size: 6-9 1/2 feet 
Color: Blue/black body with redish area on face and jaw
Habatat: found in dry, upland scrub areas of the southeastern United States:Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Diet: small: mammals, birds, frogs, other snakes (including rattlesnakes and cottonmouths)

Status: Threatend since 1978

Cost: $350-$750 + $100 special permit

Special Permits Required in: Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. In Florida it is Illegal to keep an Indigo without a permit
Breeding is Illegal in both Georgia and Florida

In Georgia E. Indigos cant be kept with a Wildlife permit for educational use only. This permits only allows for one snake only.

Documentary Script for East Indigo

The East Indigo Snake

Hey viewers! My name is Meredith and this here (holds up a snake) is Big Bertha!

Bertha is an East Indigo snake. Her scientific name is Drymarchon couperi, and she belongs to the Domain Eukaryota and the Kingdom Animalia, and because she has a spine she is also a vertebrate like you and me. East Indigos can be identified by their beautiful iridescent blue/back bodies and red-face.

What you can see immediately is that she is quite a long snake. The East Indigo snake is known for its length. This characteristic is important because it makes it the longest nonvenomous snake in North America. This breed typically grows to be 6-9 feet, but Bertha is an unusual 10 feet long! She is currently the largest of her kind in captivity.

(camera shows Betha is her habitat laying in the sun half in and out of her pool)

Have you ever seen a snake at a pet store basking under a heat lamp or lying in pool of water? They do this to regulate their internal temperature. Bertha is a reptile, and all reptiles are ectotherms.  This means that her body temperature is affected by outside sources. Reptiles always run the risk of getting to hot or cold. So you can see that global warming is potentially disastrous to all reptiles.

(Camera: shot of different east indigo slithering through the brush in the wild)  

Snakes typically eat anything smaller than themselves. This means mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are all on the menu. East Indigos are immune to venom which enables them to eat rattlesnakes. Yum!

(Camera: back to Meredith holding Bertha)

East Indigos can be found in found in dry, upland scrub areas of the southeastern United States such as Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Unfortunately, their number have dropped severely due to growing urberzation, gassing of burrows (rattle snake hunting), and the over collection by the pet trade.  The East Indigo was put on the threatened list in 1978. It is illegal in several states to own one as a pet without a license. Hopefully with renewed interest in this species we can help this breed once again thrive.

Works Cited

Florida Collier County Environmental Services

Savannah Ecology Laboratory Herpetology Program

The Titi Tudorancea Bulletin


Florida’s Species Recovery Program


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pet Trade to blame for snakes decline?

The information in this pdf link (beginning on page 4-572) suggests that it is not just loss of habitat that has caused the eastern Indigo's decline (specifically in Florida) but the gassing of gofer holes and over collection by the pet trade. This is the first I have heard of these theories.


The information provided in this youtube video by a Eastern Indigo breeder lends some credence in my mind to the suggestion of over collection leading to the decline of said snake.

While I appreciate this owners enthusiasm for this breed I would caution him from saying that these snakes would never bite a human. Yes, it is probably true that his well handled snake probably won't bite anyone. But it is still a animal with teeth and even a good snake can have a bad day.

Rattlesnake, anyone?

Here is a link to factzoo.com 's page on the East Indigo:

According to this article the East Indigo (like the super niffty kingsnake) is immune to rattlesnake venom. This being the case rattlesnakes are part of its diet.

Here is a photo from the link above of  a eastern indigo carrying off a rattlesnake.

Factzoo also talks about the 7 breeds of Indigo snakes: Yellowtail, Orizaba, Mexican Redtail, Eastern Indigo, Unicolor, Blacktail, and Margarita Island. I did not realize this when starting this blog. So it is very important that while I continue my research I ensure the information shown here is only about the Eastern Indigo.