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Nesting Sites of the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in Georgia

Dirk J. Stevenson1,*, Natalie L. Hyslop2, Chris Layton3, James Godlewski3, and Frankie H. Snow4

1Altamaha Environmental Consulting, Hinesville, GA 31313. 2University of North Georgia, Department of Biology, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA 30566. 3DPW-ENRD, Fort Stewart Fish and Wildlife Branch, 1557 Frank Cochran Drive, Building 1137, Fort Stewart, GA 31314. 4South Georgia State College, 100 West College Park Drive, Douglas, GA 31533. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 20, Issue 2 (2021): 345–352

Little is known about the nesting habits of Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake), a federally threatened species native to the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Here, we describe locations of nest sites based on reports in the literature and from our field observations of putative nests and hatched eggshells. All wild nest sites (n = 7) known for the species (i.e., excluding those from translocated and/or captive-bred snakes) have been found in xeric sandhill habitats in southern Georgia and all have been associated with Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise) burrows, including in the sand of burrow aprons. To protect snake nests, buffers around tortoise burrows are highly recommended during all habitat management activities (e.g., selective thinning, Pinus palustris [Longleaf Pine] restoration).

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