Eastern Indigo Snake Facts

Eastern Indigo Snake Facts

Eastern Indigo Snake is a snake from Colubridae family. It is a long nonvenomous snake endemic to the southeastern United States. Their scientific name is derived from the Greek word, “drymos”, which means “forest” and “couperi”, which means “lord”. It was first described in 1842 by American zoologist and herpetologist, John Edwards Holbrook. Read more interesting Eastern Indigo Snake facts.

Scientific name: Drymarchon couperi


Eastern Indigo snakes measure 1 – 3 meters long. They are known to be the longest snake species in the USA. Males are usually longer than females. The longest known length of an Eastern Indigo is 2.8 meters.

As suggested by its name, the snake is blue-black in color and covered with scales. The chin and the laterals of the snake can be reddish-orange.

Eastern Indigo Snake has black translucent scales. Its sides and area under the head can be orange-red as shown in this picture.

At first glance, it is extremely dark black or gray, however, when it is viewed under the light, it looks bright and could be a very dark blue or above all, purple.


Eastern Indigos prefer flatwoods, hammocks, dry glades, stream bottoms and, high grounds with well-drained sandy soils.

They are found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi states of northeastern United States. It is usually found on land, but it can also easily climb trees and shrubs for food.

A gopher tortoise burrow is used as a winter retreat for Eastern Indigo Snakes

Where do Eastern Indigo Snakes live?

They live in burrows. Burrows of gopher tortoises are their favorite place to nest.

Behavior and diet

Eastern Indigo is a diurnal snake.

They eat a wide variety of prey and almost eat anything that is weaker than them. Since it is a non-venomous snake, it cannot kill its prey by poisoning it. It preys on any smaller animals that it can overpower. It kills its prey by biting it with its strong jaws.

They feed on rats, lizards, turtles, frogs, and birds. They can also eat smaller venomous snakes since they are immune to the venom of other snakes.

Eastern Indigo Snake is the longest snake species in the US.
(Image source: georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu)

These snakes have strong muscular jaws to make up for the lack of venom. Their bite can be very painful and can even cause intense hemorrhage. When feeling threatened, it mimics the venomous rattlesnake by flattening its head and vibrating its tail to scare its potential attacker. However, still, it rarely attacks humans.


The breeding months are October to February. Eastern Indigo is an oviparous species. It lays 4 to 15 eggs during the rainy season between organic matter and leaf litter. The eggs take about 3 months to hatch. These snakes do not raise and care for their children like other animals.

What is the lifespan of Eastern Indigo Snakes?

Eastern Indigoes can live up to 20 years of age.

Threats and predators

Eastern Indigoes do not face threat from any predators except humans. They also have to suffer due to habitat loss. They are listed as a threatened species in Georgia and Florida.

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