The recent return of federally threatened indigo snakes to Alabama is rooted in Georgia. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division released 18 juvenile indigos at 84,000-acre Conecuh National Forest along the Alabama-Florida line June 16.
The non-venomous snake, North America’s longest, had not been confirmed in the wild in Alabama since the mid-1950s. But the state wildlife agency and Auburn University raised indigos in a state wildlife grant project aimed at establishing a population. Georgia provided gravid female snakes, collected in the wild by permit and later returned to their collection sites. Auburn and Zoo Atlanta raised the hatchlings.
The released snakes carry tags for identification and radio transmitters to track them.
Conecuh features acres of restored longleaf pine ecosystem, prime habitat for the captive-raised indigos.
"Habitat improvement and hopefully better human tolerance for the role of the indigo snake will allow it to come back" in Alabama, said John Jensen, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
Project partners also include Project Orianne, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and Fort Stewart. For more information, go to www.outdooralabama.com/news.