Snake ecology in the red hills of Georgia and Florida
Stapleton, Seth Patrick
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Land management practices are implemented in the Southeast to maintain upland habitats but potential implications are not wholly understood. Snakes represent an ecosystem component in need of greater research. I used radio telemetry and systematic trapping on 3 sites to address objectives of community ecology and to describe resource partitioning and survival of sympatric rat snakes. I documented 1956 captures representing 16 species during 2002 2003 trapping. Commonly captured species demonstrated variability in activities by season and habitat. Using radio telemetry, seasonal partitioning of movements was not evident among rat snakes, but species did exhibit habitat partitioning: corn snakes focused activities around upland ground structures, and arboreal eastern rat snakes frequented hardwood trees and bottomlands. Survival estimates were comparable to figures reported elsewhere and suggest an acclimation period. Current management strategies such as prescribed fire are essential in maintenance of upland forests and are thus important for upland snake communities.