Effects of a landscape disturbance on the habitat use and behavior of the black racer

  • Published source details Howey C.A.F., Dickinson M.B. & Roosenburg W.M. (2016) Effects of a landscape disturbance on the habitat use and behavior of the black racer. Copeia, 104, 853-863.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, controlled study in 2012 in mature oak-hickory forest in south-western Kentucky, USA (Howey et al. 2016) found that in burned plots, black racer snake Coluber constrictor abundance was higher and snakes increased surface activity compared to unburned plots. Snake abundance was higher in burned plots (39 individuals) compared to unburned plots (21 individuals). Snakes were more active on the surface in burned plots than unburned plots (data presented as statistical model outputs). Males moved more than females in burned plots and less than females in unburned plots although sex ratios and body sizes were similar between burned and unburned plots (see original paper for details). Radio-tracked snake mortality rates were higher in burned areas (5 individuals) than unburned areas (1 individual, no statistical tests were carried out). Data was collected from two treatments: burned (in April 2007 and September 2010) and unburned plots. Snakes were trapped and monitored in eight square 64 ha plots (four burned, four unburned). Plots were > 200 m from the treatment edge and at least 500 m from the nearest plot. Snakes were trapped using drift fences, funnel and pitfall traps during April–August in 2012. Snake movements were monitored using radio transmitters (burned: 11; unburned: 10).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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