TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials say 20 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 at The Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve west of Tallahassee.
Government agencies, wildlife groups and universities are trying to return the native, nonvenomous apex predator to the region. A similar release was conducted last year with 12 snakes.
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.