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1 September 2012 Dispersal of Neonate Timber Rattlesnakes ( Crotalus horridus) in the Southeastern Coastal Plain
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Abstract
In colder climates, survival of neonate Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) following dispersal relies heavily on conspecific scent trailing and the ability to locate suitable communal hibernacula. Less is known regarding populations in the southern portion of their range where they are more likely to den solitarily in ephemeral overwintering sites. On 6 August 2009, we captured a post-parturient female Timber Rattlesnake with a litter of 23 neonates in a hardwood thicket within a Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) forest in southwestern Georgia. Fourteen of the neonates were radio-tracked to examine their movements and activity range overlap as they dispersed from the natal site. Snakes were tracked for periods of 1–110 days, daily for the first three weeks and at least three times per week thereafter. Dispersal distances increased over time, and overlap of activity ranges was minimal, potentially reducing intraspecific competition between litter mates. Neonates were located predominantly beneath clumps of vegetation or beside coarse woody debris (62.4%), in hardwood tree branches (31.6%), or just off the ground in vegetation or on top of course woody debris (6.0%). Selection of appropriate cover structure may aid in reducing susceptibility to predation.
Jennifer M. Howze, Kevin M. Stohlgren, Elizabeth M. Schlimm and Lora L. Smith "Dispersal of Neonate Timber Rattlesnakes ( Crotalus horridus) in the Southeastern Coastal Plain," Journal of Herpetology 46(3), (1 September 2012). https://doi.org/10.1670/10-126
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