Study

Translocating ratsnakes: does enrichment offset negative effects of time in captivity?

  • Published source details Degregorio B.A., Sperry J.H., Tuberville T.D. & Weatherhead P.J. (2017) Translocating ratsnakes: does enrichment offset negative effects of time in captivity?. Wildlife Research, 44, 438-448.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Snakes

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Snakes

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Snakes

    A controlled study in 2012–2015 in a mixed forest and wetland in South Carolina, USA (DeGregorio et al. 2017) found that that translocated ratsnakes Pantherophis obsoletus that spent longer in captivity had lower survival rates. The longer wild-caught translocated snakes spent in captivity prior to release, the lower their seasonal survival rates were compared to translocated snakes that spent less or no time in captivity (results reported as model outputs). Overall, 11 of 19 wild-caught snakes kept in captivity died after release compared to none of five released directly into the wild and three of 11 wild resident snakes (result was not statistically tested). Snakes that spent more time in captivity were more likely to be found in exposed locations than resident or direct-to-wild translocated snakes (see paper for details). Wild-caught snakes (19 individuals) were kept in captivity for between 13 months and 7 years before being fitted with radio transmitters and released in May 2014. An additional 11 resident snakes and five snakes to be translocated directly from the wild were caught, fitted with transmitters and released into the study site 7–18 days after capture. Snakes were radio tracked five-times/week in May–September 2014, once a week in September–December 2014 and once–twice in spring 2015.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Snakes

    A controlled study in 2012–2015 in a mixed forest and wetland in South Carolina, USA (DeGregorio et al. 2017) found that translocated ratsnakes Pantherophis obsoletus that spent time in captivity before release had similar home ranges to resident snakes regardless of whether their environment was enriched prior to release, whereas translocated snakes kept in captivity without enrichment moved less each day than snakes translocated directly to the wild. Enriched- and unenriched-captive held snakes had similar home range sizes (enriched: 39 ha; unenriched: 23 ha) to resident snakes (26 ha), whereas snakes translocated directly to the wild had larger home ranges (93 ha). Enriched-captive snakes moved similar average daily distances to resident and direct translocated snakes in June–October, but unenriched-captive snakes moved less than directly translocated snakes in July, August and October (see original paper for details). Wild-caught snakes were kept either in unenriched (10 individuals, individually housed with bedding, food and water) or enriched conditions (9 individuals, additionally provided materials to encourage climbing, foraging and thermoregulatory behaviours) for 13 months to 7 years prior to release. Snakes were fitted with radio transmitters and released in May 2014. In addition, 11 resident snakes and five wild translocated snakes were caught, fitted with transmitters and released into the study site 7–18 days after capture. Snakes were radio tracked > once/week in May–September 2014, once/week in September–December 2014 and once or twice in spring 2015.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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