Spatial ecology is crucial to determining how animals exploit resources in their environment. Snakes display highly varied energetic and space use strategies; we hypothesized that snakes with higher energy demands are more mobile to fulfill their energy needs. We studied the spatial ecology of two syntopic colubrid snakes (Hierophis viridiflavus and Zamenis longissimus) that show a marked divergence in energetics. Specifically, we predicted that H. viridiflavus should be more active than Z. longissimus because of its higher energy requirements. Because reproductive status also influences movement patterns, we investigated its effect within each species. We indeed found that H. viridiflavus moved more frequently and covered longer distances during the postreproductive period, probably because of foraging activity. Both species displayed similar activity during the reproductive period, however. The extended movements during the reproductive period may be related to mate-searching in males and egg-laying in females.
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Vol. 68 • No. 3