We studied home range size and maximum dispersal distance from hibernacula in Northern Pinesnakes (Pituophis m. melanoleucus) at a 1418-ha preserve in Cumberland County, New Jersey, USA, between 1993 and 2003. We discovered 22 different winter hibernacula that were used by 39 Northern Pinesnakes. Of the 10 snakes monitored in hibernacula for 3–5 yr, shifting was observed by 8 individuals, and 2 females showed hibernacula philopatry for five consecutive years. The average minimum convex polygon home range of 14 radio-tracked Northern Pinesnakes was 105.51 ha (located 30–108 times/snake), whereas the average kernel density estimator home range was 50% isopleth = 38.99 ha and 90% isopleth = 133.15 ha. There were no differences in home range as a function of sex, but the number of years snakes were radio-tracked affected home range size. An adult male had the largest home range of 258 ha. The average distance traveled by radio-tracked Northern Pinesnakes from their winter hibernacula was 1321.05 m, with a maximum distance of 2146.91 m. Of all snakes followed, 27.3% (n = 3) traveled <1000 m, 18.2% (n = 2) traveled 1000–1100 m, 18.2% (n = 2) traveled 1100–1200 m, and 36.4% (n = 4) traveled >1200 m. The average number of hibernacula available per home range was 3.2. Snakes that were monitored for ≥2 yr had larger home ranges than snakes that were only radio-tracked for 1 yr. Thus, radio-tracking several adult snakes over a 3–5-yr period is the most effective method to determine home ranges, locate hibernacula sites of meta-populations, and reveal an understanding of their ecology, behavior, and conservation requirements.
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