Environmentalists Bring Indigo Snakes Back To Florida

Jul 17, 2017

The Nature Conservancy's David Printiss showing off one of the sires who fathered some of the snakes released Monday.
Credit Nick Evans

Scientists are re-introducing indigo snakes for the first time in decades to a stretch of forest outside Tallahassee.

The Nature Conservancy has been working for thirty years to restore a long-leaf pine habitat near Torreya state park.  Monday the organization took another step in that effort by releasing seven indigo snakes.  North Florida Program Manager David Printiss says the reptiles are apex predators.

“And what that means,” he says, “it’s at the top of the food chain, and it specializes in eating other snakes.” 

“So, you can imagine the grey rat snake or the red rat snake that prey on songbirds—well if there’s too many of those maybe our songbirds are getting too much pressure,” Printiss offers about the indigo snake’s role in the ecosystem.

The project, in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, includes a total of 12 snakes this year, and another 30 next year. 

The last time observers spotted an indigo snake in the preserve was 1982.