Affordable Access

deepdyve-link deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Evaluating the thermal effects of translocation in a large-bodied pitviper.

Authors
  • Holding, Matthew L
  • Owen, Dustin A S
  • Taylor, Emily N
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A Ecological Genetics and Physiology
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2014
Volume
321
Issue
8
Pages
442–449
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/jez.1876
PMID: 24962181
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Acute stressors can be costly, often requiring alteration of normal physiological processes to mitigate their effects. Animal translocation may be a very stressful event and result in a reduced ability to maintain homeostasis. The impacts of translocation on the thermal ecology of ectothermic vertebrates, which may rely on preferred habitats for thermoregulation, are currently unknown. In this study, 22 adult male Northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) were implanted with automated temperature loggers and radio-tracked. Snakes were assigned to one of three treatments: translocation, handling control, and undisturbed control. Short-distance translocation (SDT) and handling treatments were applied weekly for 6 weeks. Hourly body temperature (Tb ) was recorded during the course of the study. Mean Tb was impacted in a time-dependent fashion, where translocated snakes had lower mean Tb than handled controls during the first week of the study only, especially the first 24 hr after translocation. Separating the dataset into day and night revealed that this effect was localized to Tb variation during the day only. Variance in temperature was not impacted by translocation or handling. Snake body mass and time of year were the major factors influencing the thermal profiles of these rattlesnakes. Thermal ecology in male rattlesnakes is resilient to SDT, suggesting that they quickly resume normal behaviors following repeated bouts of acute capture stress and disturbance of their spatial ecology. This study provides support for SDT as a safe measure for mitigating human-snake interactions and facilitating conservation practices regarding male snakes, which are the most frequently encountered sex.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times