Time in captivity affects foraging behavior of ratsnakes

Implications for translocation

Brett A. DeGregorio, Patrick J Weatherhead, Tracey D. Tuberville, Jinelle H. Sperry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

As wildlife populations decline or disappear, wildlife professionals are using management tools such as translocation to maintain viable populations, often with mixed results. Wild-to-wild translocations are often more successful than when captive animals are released, raising concerns that captivity may have deleterious effects on animals. although the effects of captivity have been documented on a generational time-scale, effects within the lifetime of an individual have received much less attention. here we examine how time in captivity affects foraging behavior of wild-caught ratsnakes (elaphe obsoleta). The longer ratsnakes had been in captivity, the less successful and slower they were to react to prey in a simple laboratory discrimination task. snakes that had been captive for a year or more performed no better than expected by chance. Captivity-induced degradation of ecologically important behaviors provides a potential mechanism underlying the poor performance of animals that are released into the wild following prolonged captivity. our results also suggest that research using captive snakes may not always document behaviors representative of wild snakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

captivity
foraging behavior
translocation
snakes
foraging
wildlife
snake
Elaphe obsoleta
captive animals
animal performance
animal
degradation
scale effect
population decline
animals
timescale

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • Elaphe obsoleta
  • Prey detection
  • Reintroduction
  • Repatriation
  • Snakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Time in captivity affects foraging behavior of ratsnakes : Implications for translocation. / DeGregorio, Brett A.; Weatherhead, Patrick J; Tuberville, Tracey D.; Sperry, Jinelle H.

In: Herpetological Conservation and Biology, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2013, p. 581-590.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DeGregorio, Brett A. ; Weatherhead, Patrick J ; Tuberville, Tracey D. ; Sperry, Jinelle H. / Time in captivity affects foraging behavior of ratsnakes : Implications for translocation. In: Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 3. pp. 581-590.
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