Wide-ranging snake species are particularly sensitive to landscape fragmentation, and understanding area requirements is important for their conservation. We used radiotelemetry to quantify how Eastern Indigo Snake home-range sizes were influenced by sex, land cover, and the length of time (weeks) individuals were radio tracked. We found that Eastern Indigo Snakes had the largest home ranges among other snake species studied. Female home ranges averaged 44 and 76 ha, respectively, for kernel and minimum convex polygon estimators. Male home ranges averaged 156 and 202 ha, respectively, for kernel and minimum convex polygon estimators. Many animal species respond to habitat fragmentation by using larger areas than in unfragmented landscapes, but we found that Indigo Snakes in fragmented landscapes used much smaller areas. The length of time that snakes were tracked had almost no influence on home-range size compared to sex and land cover type. Our results suggest that maintaining populations of this large wide-ranging predator will require large conservation areas with minimum fragmentation.
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Vol. 45 • No. 4