Jared Jordan has always loved reptiles, so when he looked in his yard last week and found a rare eastern indigo snake slinking on his driveway, it really got is attention.
When you consider he had gone his whole life hoping to see one, much of it spent on the 280-acre property he grew up on in central Florida.
Jordan, a herpetologist (an expert on snakes) was leaving his house the other day, when he said he had to return home to get something.
"I pulled into my driveway when I saw this huge what I thought was a black racer scurrying across my driveway," Jordan said. "I got out and started to take pictures and noticed this is the snake I've been looking for all my life."
Jordan sent the pictures he took on his cell phone to an old friend, Fred Antonio of the Orianne Society, who confirmed what he saw was indeed the threatened snake.
Jordan has loved snakes since he was a kid, even keeping snakes at age 11 and doing a high school project on venomous snakes.
He started working with Antonio and volunteering at the Sanford Zoo before coming to Cape Coral and helping open the Shell Factory Nature Park.
"It was my dream job, but once I had a baby, I couldn't continue because it didn't pay the bills," Jordan said. "But I'm still a nature freak. That's how I grew up."
The eastern indigo snake is a large non-venomous snake native to the Eastern United States. It is of note as being the longest native snake species in the U.S., growing as long as eight feet.
This snake received its name from the glossy iridescent blackish-purple sheen it displays in bright light. Because of habitat loss, the eastern indigo snake is listed as a federally threatened species in Georgia and Florida.
Jordan, who has three boys, said the snake is good for the environment because it eats venomous snakes and is immune to diamondback venom.
"They've been caught on videotape being attacked by a rattlesnake and it didn't affect them and they ate the snake," Jordan said.
He also said the snake is not a constrictor, but rather overpowers its prey and swallows it down dead or alive.
Most important, he said, in the event you come across one, to leave it alone, since it's against the law to touch them and they provide positive impact to the environment.
"This snake is beneficial more than anything. So, just leave them alone," Jordan said.