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