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Movements and activity of juvenile Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis)

January 1, 2014

Understanding the spatial ecology and foraging strategy of invasive animals is essential for success in control or eradication. We studied movements and activity in juvenile Brown Treesnakes on Guam, as this population segment has proven particularly difficult to control. Distance between daytime refugia (from telemetry of 18 juveniles, 423-800 mm snout-vent length) ranged from 0-118 m (n  =  86), with a grand mean of 43 m. There were tendencies for shorter snake movements on nights directly following a full moon and on dry nights, but variation among snakes was of a larger magnitude and would greatly reduce chances to detect moon or rain effects unless corrected for. Snake activity was estimated from audio recordings of signals from “tipping” radio transmitters, analyzed for pulse period and amplitude. Activity was highest in the hours immediately after sunset, and gradually declined throughout the night before dropping abruptly in conjunction with sunrise. Snake activity was higher on rainy nights, and tended to be highest during waning moons and when the moon was below the horizon. We conclude that small Brown Treesnakes forage actively and appear to move far enough to regularly encounter the traps and bait used on Guam for control purposes, suggesting that alternative explanations are required for their low capture rates with these control tools.

Publication Year 2014
Title Movements and activity of juvenile Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis)
DOI 10.1643/CE-14-050
Authors Bjorn Lardner, Julie A. Savidge, Robert N. Reed, Gordon H. Rodda
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Copeia
Index ID 70135075
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center