Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) has a threatened conservation status and restricted range in the southeastern US. Evidence suggests it mainly consumes other reptile species. Dietary nutrient analysis is a component of habitat/resource quality and species health assessments, and the results provide guidelines for optimal captive-feeding protocols. Native prey items (7 snakes, 1 tortoise, 1 rodent) had higher protein and lower fat content, considerably higher concentrations of vitamins A and E, and variable mineral content (high Ca, P, Na; low Cu, Mn) compared to the diets of commercially reared and captive-fed rodents. Data suggest that diets for captive snakes may require modification to better duplicate natural food sources. Further investigation of captive diets is warranted to understand possible health implications for wild Indigo Snake populations.
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Vol. 14 • No. 3