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Drymarchon facts for kids

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Drymarchon couperi, eastern indigo snake
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Drymarchon
Fitzinger, 1843

See text.

  • Coluber
  • Compsosoma
  • Georgia
  • Spilotes

Drymarchon is a genus of large nonvenomous colubrid snakes, commonly known as indigo snakes or cribos, found in the Southeastern United States, Central America, and South America. Reaching 3 m (9.8 ft) or more in length, they are among the world's largest colubrid snakes.


Indigo snakes are large, robust snakes which can reach a total length (including tail) of over 3 m (9.8 ft). They have smooth dorsal scales, and several color variations, including a glossy blue-black color. This snake genus, Drymarchon, means "Lord of The Forest".

Behavior and diet

Indigo snakes are diurnal and actively forage for prey. They feed on a broad variety of small animals such as rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, toads, and other snakes, including rattlesnakes. They are not aggressive snakes and will only bite when threatened. Typical threat display includes hissing and shaking of its tail as a warning.

Species and subspecies

The genus Drymarchon was formerly considered to be a monotypic taxon formed by subspecies of D. corais. Currently the genus includes six distinct species recognized by ITIS: One of the species has several subspecies which are recognized as being valid.

  • Indigo snake, yellow-tailed indigo snake — Drymarchon corais (F. Boie, 1827)
  • Falcon indigo snake — Drymarchon caudomaculatus Wüster, Yrausquin & Mijares-Urrutia, 2001
  • Eastern indigo snakeDrymarchon couperi (Holbrook, 1842)
  • Margarita indigo snake — Drymarchon margaritae Roze, 1959
  • Middle American indigo snakeDrymarchon melanurus (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)
    • Black-tailed cribo — Drymarchon melanurus melanurus (A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854)
    • Texas indigo snakeDrymarchon melanurus erebennus (Cope, 1860)
    • Orizaba indigo snake — Drymarchon melanurus orizabensis (Dugès, 1905)
    • Mexican red-tailed indigo snake — Drymarchon melanurus rubidus H.M. Smith, 1941
    • Unicolor cribo — Drymarchon melanurus unicolor H.M. Smith, 1941

Nota bene: A binomial authority or a trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species or subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Drymarchon.

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