Using data from a 28-month capture–mark–recapture study that included 3 winters, we compared rates of body growth and survival for a population of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) in eastern Virginia with another marginal population in eastern Kansas, and where possible, with southern populations in coastal Texas and central Florida. Patterns of seasonal growth were similar in Virginia and Kansas, being low, often near 0, in winter but moderate in other seasons, unlike the uniform seasonal growth rates in Texas. Survival rates were similar between the sexes in both Virginia and Kansas but the overall monthly survival rate in Kansas (0.75) was much higher than the means for Virginia (0.69 for females and 0.62 for males). In sum, despite mild and mostly snow-free winters in eastern Virginia, the patterns of body mass and rates of growth and survival were more similar to those of Kansas populations than to those of cotton rat populations from Texas or Florida.
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