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The beautiful eastern indigo is the longest native snake in North America. Immune to rattlesnake venom, these jet-black animals are known to routinely make meals out of another large predator, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Sadly, the indigo is listed as threatened due to habitat loss and fragmentation produced by development and road construction. The upland sandhill communities where these snakes prefer to live have been reduced to mere fractions of their historic range. Like a multitude of other species, eastern indigos depend on sheltering in gopher tortoise burrows during the winter and when fire covers the landscape.

Fortunately, fairly stable populations exist on some federal and state lands in Florida; you might even be able to catch a glimpse of one of these magnificent creatures while hiking during the cooler months of the year.