Friday, May 03, 2024

41 ‘apex predators’ — that eat venomous snakes — released in north Florida. Here’s why.


Wildlife researchers trekked through the tall grass in north Florida, unbothered by the long, slithering “apex predator” species in their hands.

The researchers were at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve on April 30 to deposit 41 of those creatures back into nature.

They’re eastern indigo snakes, the longest snake species in the U.S., and they play “a vital role in the circle of life here,” according to James Bogan Jr., the director of Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation.

Eastern indigo snakes provide balance to the “now rare” ecosystem, eating venomous and nonvenomous snakes, as well as other wildlife, according to conservationists. They’re native to the southeast U.S., but their range has decreased in part due to habitat loss.

The federally threatened snake disappeared from the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve after 1982, but scientists hope reintroduction efforts since 2017 will be good for both the snake species and the ecosystem as a whole...more

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