Western chicken turtles (Deirochelys reticularia miaria) spend most of the year estivating on land, but researchers know little about their choice of estivation locations, and understanding their terrestrial requirements is important for conservation efforts. Therefore, we used radio telemetry to examine the estivation locations of nine males and four females. We followed six of those males and three of those females for 2 years, and two males and one female for 3 years. We examined site fidelity and compared the habitat features of their estivation locations to the habitat available in the area. We found that males exhibited site fidelity across years, but females generally did not. We also found that D. r. miaria selected sites that contained small-mammal burrows, leaf litter, and <25% vegetative ground cover. There was no evidence of selection for sites with or without slopes. Because this species relies on estivation sites with specific characteristics, protecting suitable habitat is an important part of conservation efforts. This study can help to guide those efforts.
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