Eastern Indigo Snake, Indigo Snake, Racer
Scientific name: Drymarchon couperi (HOLBROOK 1842)
* Currently accepted name
* scientific names used through time
- Coluber couperi – HOLBROOK 1842
- Georgia couperi – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
- Drymarchon corais – STEJNEGER 1899
- Drymarchon corais couperi – CONANT 1958
- Drymarchon couperi – COLLINS 1991
Description: Average adult size is 60-74 inches (152-188 cm), record is 103.5 inches (262.8 cm). Adults are large and thick-bodied. The body is glossy black and in sunlight has iridescent blue highlights. The chin and throat may be solid black, reddish or white that may extend down the body. The belly is cloudy black to blue-gray, sometimes with reddish-orange or white anteriorly. The scales on its back are smooth, but some larger males may possess some dorso-lateral scales that are keeled. There are 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are black-bodied with narrow whitish-blue bands.
A. Top of the head
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Smooth scales
D. Side of the head
E. Front (face view) of the head
F. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided
Range: In Florida, Eastern Indigo Snakes occurs throughout the peninsula south to Key Largo; it is rare in the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it occurs in southeastern Georgia.
Habitat: Eastern Indigo Snakes are widespread throughout the state, but have experienced population declines most places. They occur in hardwood forests, moist hammocks, pine flatwoods, prairies, and around cypress ponds.
Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). Eastern Indigo Snakes are listed as a Threatened Species by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Because Eastern Indigo Snakes seek refuge in Gopher Tortoise burrows, along with Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes and many other animals, in some parts of Florida the Indigo Snake is called the Gopher Snake.
Comparison with other species: Young Eastern Indigo Snakes might be confused with Eastern Racers (Coluber constrictor), which typically have white chins and throats.