TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials say 15 threatened eastern indigo snakes have been released in northern Florida.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says the reptiles were set loose Tuesday at The Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (ABRP) west of Tallahassee.
Government agencies, wildlife groups and universities are trying to return the native, nonvenomous apex predator to the region. Similar releases were conducted the past two years.
The eastern indigo snake is the longest snake native to North America, growing to over 8 feet long (2.4 meters). Scientists say it serves a critical function in its environment, consuming a variety of small animals. The snakes were historically found in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, though their range is now more restricted.
ABRP is the only site in Florida currently designated for indigo reintroduction.The 6,295-acre nature preserve is home to a large number of imperiled species.