Hilochee is a good place to observe birds, including anhinga, great blue heron, great egret, little blue heron, green heron, wood stork, bald eagle and osprey. Hilochee also offers excellent opportunities to view butterflies that favor open fields adjacent to woodlands. Early morning visitors to Hilochee may also hear a chorus of frogs including leopard frogs, squirrel treefrogs, pinewoods treefrogs, narrow mouth toads and green treefrogs.
Wildlife Spotlight: Eastern Indigo Snake
Eastern indigo snakes are nonvenomous and state and federally protected as a threatened species.
The glossy blue-black Eastern indigo snake is the longest snake in North America and an adult may grow as long as 8 feet. The nonvenomous Eastern indigo uses its powerful jaws to subdue prey, which consists of other snakes (including venomous ones), frogs, turtles, small mammals, salamanders and birds.
The black racer, sometimes confused with the indigo snake, has a distinctive white chin and is slender and fast-moving. The stockier Eastern indigo snake is more docile and much slower-moving than the black racer. Pressure from pet market collectors, coupled with disappearing habitat, has hurt the population and earned it protection as a federally-listed threatened species. Historically, the eastern indigo snake was found from southern Georgia to the Florida Keys and west to Alabama, but today it is mostly restricted to Florida and southern Georgia. Though usually associated with gopher tortoise burrows in well-drained scrub and sandhill habitats, the Eastern indigo readily moves though a variety of habitats, especially those that border marshes and swamps.