This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Monitoring Strategies and Occupancy Analysis for the Reintroduced Eastern Indigo Snake in Conecuh National Forest, Alabama




Erickson, Francesca

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Forestry and Wildlife Science

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) was presumed extirpated from its native range in Alabama in the 1950’s and was added to the Endangered Species List in 1978. A reintroduction program for the species began in Conecuh National Forest in 2010 and to date has released approximately 230 captive-raised indigo snakes to the forest. To learn more about this population and to make monitoring recommendations, I systematized pedestrian surveys and used multiple passive monitoring techniques, such as game cameras and PIT Tag Readers. I then took a Structured Decision-Making approach to analyzing these methods to provide recommendations for continued monitoring and for determining if the reintroduction has been successful. I also conducted occupancy analyses of tortoise burrows to increase understanding of how indigo snakes use tortoise burrows when in xeric upland sites for overwintering and breeding, in hopes to further inform future monitoring and management decisions for this reintroduction population.