We used radiotelemetry to investigate the movement patterns of nine Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus during spring 2006 on the west coast of South Africa. Snakes were on average tracked for 28 days and relocated twice per day. For each snake we calculated vernal home range size using minimum convex polygons, and 50 and 95% isopleths. These data show that male snakes moved significantly greater distances, had larger home ranges (average MCP = 2.219 ha for males and 0.619 ha for females), and were thus more active than female snakes. Telemetered female snakes displayed non-overlapping activity zones. Skaapstekers exhibited most activity from 0900–1700 h and in ambient temperatures greater than 19°C. Overall these movement patterns are consistent with reports of other active-foraging snakes in mating season; however, it is possible these characteristics vary across seasons and populations for this wide-ranging species. Conspecific interactions observed during the study also provide insight into the mating system of P. r. rhombeatus. This is the first radiotelemetry study on any psammophiid inhabiting Africa and demonstrates that while male and female psammophiids are physically monomorphic, they potentially occupy very different ecological roles.
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Vol. 2013 • No. 2