Response of Indigo Snakes to Gassing of Their Dens

The effects of gassing on the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), an inhabitant of burrows of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) was tested in southern Georgia. Gassing is frequently practiced by rattlesnake hunters to drive snakes from tortoise burrows. Six adult indigo snakes equipped with radio transmitters had established typical winter behavior patterns before 3 of them were gassed 19 December 1979 with 60 ml of unleaded gasoline. The gassed snakes died between 12 and 34 days later. The ungassed snakes were recovered in excellent condition during January. Unusual behavior of gassed snakes preceding death is discussed.

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