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1 December 2002 A PEDESTRIAN ROAD SURVEY OF AN UPLAND SNAKE COMMUNITY IN FLORIDA
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Abstract

A pedestrian survey of snakes was conducted for 1022 days (79% of the available days) along 6 km of rural roads through xeric upland habitats in Hernando County, Florida. Two hundred twenty-eight snakes of 18 species were recorded, 93% of which were dead. The relative abundance of many snake species, such as the rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) and southern hognose snake (Heterodon simus), differed between the road survey and three drift fence surveys in xeric upland habitats that trapped 22 species. The pedestrian road survey was successful at detecting small snake species and neonates. Mean annual mortality of all snake species was 12.8/km/yr, despite low traffic volume on the roads surveyed, and 70% of carcasses remained on roads for <1 day. Peak periods of snake activity were June–July and September–November. Snakes were not found along roads in proportion to the coverage of four natural and three ruderal habitat types; snakes were found proportionally less frequently adjacent to lawns and improved pastures. Some snake species, such as the southern hognose snake, can apparently persist in areas of fragmented and altered upland habitats, but this study suggests that loss and degradation of natural habitats may have long-term impacts on populations of large snake species. Roads may be a significant source of mortality for some snake populations, especially for dispersing neonates, which comprised 80% of road-killed snakes in September–December.

Kevin M. Enge and Kristin N. Wood "A PEDESTRIAN ROAD SURVEY OF AN UPLAND SNAKE COMMUNITY IN FLORIDA," Southeastern Naturalist 1(4), 365-380, (1 December 2002). https://doi.org/10.1656/1528-7092(2002)001[0365:APRSOA]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 December 2002
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