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Use of a Novel Refuge Type by Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi) in Georgia

Frankie H. Snow1, Adam B. Safer2, Dirk J. Stevenson3,*, and Houston C. Chandler4,5

1South Georgia State College, 100 West College Park Drive, Douglas, GA 31533. 2Department of Biology, Valdosta State University, 1500 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA 31698. 3Altamaha Environmental Consulting, Hinesville, GA 31313. 4The Orianne Society, 11 Old Fruitstand Lane, Tiger, GA 30576. 5Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 310 West Campus Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 20, Issue 2 (2021): 308–314

We conducted a 14-year mark–recapture study of a population of Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) inhabiting an unusual geologic region (Altamaha Grit) embedded within the Vidalia Uplands Physiographic Province of southeastern Georgia. Here, we documented regular cool-season use of refuges (ground holes, crevices) associated with aboveground sandstone outcrops. Several discrete rock outcrop sites were used throughout our study period, with individual snakes often returning to the same rock dens in successive years. We describe these habitats and discuss the significance of this discovery.

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