Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium welcomed four slithering reptiles to its animal population this week.
Four endangered eastern indigo snakes made their appearance Wednesday and Thursday, marking a first-time birth of the species at the zoo.
The scaled bundles of joy are the result of an Eastern Indigo Species Survival Plan recommendation. Such plans manage specific threatened or endangered species to ensure that they are healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied across institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to a press release from the zoo.
Omaha’s zoo has been a member of the program since 2002, the same year the zoo acquired its first eastern indigo. To increase its breeding success with the species, the zoo upgraded the eastern indigo’s habitat in 2010, providing a larger, more complex environment for the reptile with more heating structures to trigger natural breeding behaviors.
Eastern indigos are native to the southeastern U.S. They are considered the largest non-venomous snake in the country, reaching up to 8½ feet in length.
Once they are able to successfully feed on their own, the snakes will be moved to a habitat visible to the public in the Desert Dome’s sunroom.