Winter movements of Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) in Texas and Louisiana

  • Authors: Pierce, Josh B.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Burgdorf, Shirley J.; Schaefer, Richard R.; Conner, Richard N.; Himes, John G.; Duran, C. Mike; Hardy, Laurence M.; Fleet, Robert R.
  • Publication Year: 2014
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Southeastern Naturalist. 13(Special Issue 5): 137-145

Abstract

Despite concerns that the Louisiana Pine Snake (Pituophis ruthveni) has been extirpated from large portions of its historic range, only a limited number of studies on their movement patterns have been published. Winter movement patterns are of particular interest since it has been hypothesized that impacts of management practices would be reduced during the winter. Using radiotelemetry, we determined winter movement patterns of Louisiana Pine Snakes (11 males, 8 females) in 5 study areas (2 in Louisiana and 3 in Texas). Movements during winter (November–February) were greatly curtailed compared to the remainder of the year; however, snakes occasionally undertook substantial movements. Relocations were typically within the snake’s previous active-season home range, and movements were more frequent in the early portion of winter. All hibernation sites were within Baird’s Pocket Gopher (Geomys breviceps) burrow systems at depths ranging from 13–25 cm. Louisiana Pine Snakes did not use communal hibernacula, nor did individual snakes return to previously used sites in successive years.

  • Citation: Pierce, Josh B.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Burgdorf, Shirley J.; Schaefer, Richard R.; Conner, Richard N.; Himes, John G.; Duran, C. Mike; Hardy, Laurence M.; Fleet, Robert R. 2014. Winter movements of Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) in Texas and Louisiana. Southeastern Naturalist. 13(Special Issue 5): 137-145.
  • Keywords: Louisiana pine snake, Pituophis ruthveni, movements, Texas, Louisiana, Baird's pocket gopher, Geomys breviceps
  • Posted Date: May 22, 2014
  • Modified Date: August 6, 2014
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.