Growth rates and post-release survival of captive neonate timber rattlesnakes Crotalus horridus
The need for conservation and management of rare species is becoming increasingly important as wildlife species and their habitat continue to decline. Translocation of wild captured adults to augment and reintroduce populations has been successfully used for some endangered avian species (see Carrie et al. 1999; Rudolph et al. 1992). In general, success rates for mammals and birds are higher than those for amphibians and reptiles (Dodd and Seigel 1991; Griffith et al. 1989).
The Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is listed as a State of Texas threatened species and translocation of captive raised snakes might benefit small populations. Controversy exists on the benefits versus problems associated with translocation of amphibians and reptiles (Burke 1991; Dodd and Seigel 1991; Reinert 1991). A recent evaluation of the impacts of translocation on behavior and survival of mature C. horridus suggests that translocation of adult snakes not be recommended as a standard management technique because of immediate aberrant movement behavior patterns and long-term elevated rates of overwinter mortality, predation, and disease (Reinert and Rupert 1999).