With the weather finally warming up, now is as good a time as any to enjoy the great outdoors. That being said, sometimes we run into things we wish we hadn’t. Unless you’re a snake person, a story involving a snake in Alabama may have you thinking twice about venturing out. A rare species that grows longer than eight feet was spotted there for the first time in 60 years.
NBC reports the Conecuh National Forest discovered the rare Eastern Indigo snake for the second time in more than 60 years. Though that may sound like a bad thing, the opposite appears to be true. The juvenile snake is wild-born, meaning efforts to reintroduce it back into Alabama are working. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources started the endeavor back in 2006.
The Department issued a statement last Thursday about the good news, remaining hopeful for the future. “The snake … indicates that the project is resulting in some thriving and reproducing indigos — just what we wanted!” the statement excitedly reads. “Reintroducing a species to its native range is a daunting task, and we celebrate each step of its success.”
The initiative began by breeding indigos they capture in the wild in Georgia. “The goal is to release a total of 300 snakes over the years to improve the chances of establishing a viable population,” the statement says. Several state agencies serve as collaborators. This includes Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Though the Eastern Indigo is non-venomous, it’s considered an apex predator capable of growing more than eight feet long. This makes it the longest snake native to North America. Its list of prey includes small mammals, amphibians, lizards, and even multiple snake species, such as the copperhead.
Another Rare Snake Seen on a Texas Hiking Trail
The Eastern Indigo isn’t the only rare snake making headlines lately. A few weeks ago, a Texas couple spotted a rare coral snake while hiking.
KSAT shared the news on March 10 when one of their own employees and his wife happened to see the snake while hiking on the West Loop Trail at Lost Maples State Park. As the saying goes, “red on black, friend of Jack; red on yellow, kill a fellow.” Sufficed to say, the couple kept their distance. Jessica Alderson, a Texas Park and Wildlife urban biologist, spoke to the outlet and said the snake is quite rare there.
Describing the snake, she said they typically are shy and docile, choosing to retreat or escape if encountered. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean people should let their guards down. “The majority of snakes bites result from people taking unnecessary risks with snakes like trying to capture or kill a snake,” she said. “When left alone, snakes present little or no danger to people.”
Luckily, the couple walked away unharmed and no bites have been reported in the area.