Study

Dispersal, home range establishment, survival, and reproduction of translocated eastern box turtles, Terrapene c. carolina

  • Published source details Cook R. (2004) Dispersal, home range establishment, survival, and reproduction of translocated eastern box turtles, Terrapene c. carolina. Applied Herpetology, 1, 197-228.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate reptiles away from threats: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use holding pens or enclosures at release site prior to release of wild reptiles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate reptiles away from threats: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated study in 1988–1995 in a recovering area of wetland and mixed shrubland, grasses and trees in New York, USA (Cook 2004) found that translocating eastern box turtles Terrapene carolina carolina away from developments and suburban areas resulted in some turtles surviving at least five years and reproducing. Annual survival was estimated at 71%, and of the 53 radio–tracked translocated individuals, 13 (25%) left the site, 25 established home ranges (47%; 17 in the release year, two in year 1, three in year 2, three in year 3) and 15 died (28%). Nineteen gravid females, 11 clutches of 1–9 eggs, and 10 offspring were also found following releases. In 1987–1990, a total of 335 turtles were collected, either from development sites or while crossing roads in suburban areas. Fifty-three turtles were fitted with radio trackers, and were either released immediately, or held in a pen for 15 days prior to release. The remaining 282 turtles were held in pens for 30 days before release. Originally a saltmarsh, the release site was created by dredge spoil deposition during 1928–1945. Radio tagged turtles were located daily for the first three days, then weekly until 1993 (when radio tracking ceased). In 1993–1995, a trained dog Canis lupus familiaris was used to locate turtles.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

  2. Use holding pens or enclosures at release site prior to release of wild reptiles

    A replicated, controlled study in 1988–1993 in a recovering area of wetlands and mixed shrubland, grasses and trees in New York, USA (Cook 2004) found that releasing eastern box turtles Terrapene carolina carolina into holding pens prior to release did not affect post-release survival or dispersal. Annual survival was 71% and was not affected by spending time in a holding pen, neither was survival to two years (pen: 33%; no pen: 34%) or five years (pen: 27%; no pen: 24%). Post-release direction of dispersal (result presented as a bearing) and initial dispersal speed (days to disperse 100 m: average of 24–85 days) were also not affected by being in a holding pen prior to release. Nineteen gravid females, 11 clutches of 1–9 eggs, and 10 offspring were discovered following releases. In 1987–1990, a total of 335 turtles were collected from development sites or while crossing roads in suburban areas. Fifty-three turtles were fitted with radio trackers, and were either released immediately, or held in a pen for 15 days prior to release. The remaining 282 turtles were held in pens for 30 days before release. Originally a saltmarsh, the release site was created by dredge spoil deposition during 1928–1945. Radio tagged turtles were located daily for the first three days, then weekly until 1993. In 1993–1995, a trained dog Canis lupus familiaris was used to locate turtles.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

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