Habitat use and seasonal activity patterns of the Great Plains ratsnake (Elaphe guttata emoryi) in central Texas

Jinelle H. Sperry, Christopher A Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Great Plains ratsnake (Elaphe guttata emoryi) is a poorly known species of the central and southern United States. We captured 24 Great Plains ratsnakes over 3 years at Fort Hood, Texas, and used radiotelemetry to determine habitat use and seasonal activity patterns of five adult male snakes. Great Plains ratsnakes showed an affinity for human-made structures with the majority of locations in rock structures used to control erosion. When compared to random sites, snake-selected sites were in areas of increased structure with more trees and ground cover and closer to habitat edges. Despite Great Plains ratsnakes having been documented preying on nests of arboreal birds, tracked snakes were found almost exclusively at or below ground level. Snakes were active year round and did not exhibit distinct hibernation times or sites. Snakes exhibited a bimodal pattern of activity with peaks in late spring and autumn, most likely due to temperature constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalSouthwestern Naturalist
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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