Snakes are a known predator of quail; however, the influence of snake predation on quail populations is unknown. We used a long-term data set collected by eight radiotelemetry studies in Texas, encompassing 23 years (1994–2017) and 5,369 quail, to quantify snake predation on quail. We documented that northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) mortalities were caused by three species: western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox), prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis viridis), and Texas rat snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus). This study is the first to document predation of quail (Odontiphoridae) by the latter two species. We found 30 mortalities (0.6%) attributable to western diamondback rattlesnakes. We found 1 mortality (0.03%) attributable to a prairie rattlesnake and 2 mortalities (0.06%) attributable to Texas rat snakes of the 3,206 quail exposed to predation by those two species. We concluded that snakes are not major predators of adult quail, but that they will prey opportunistically upon them.
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Vol. 63 • No. 4