A repatriation study of the eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) in Wisconsin

  • Published source details King R., Berg C. & Hay B. (2004) A repatriation study of the eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) in Wisconsin. Herpetologica, 60, 429-437.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Snakes & lizards

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Snakes & lizards

    A replicated study in 1999–2001 in two sites of mixed wetland and scrub oak in Wisconsin, USA (King et al. 2004) found that head-started eastern massasaugas Sistrurus catenatus catenatus released in summer had lower mortality rates, larger home ranges and gained more mass compared to snakes released in autumn. Summer released snakes had lower mortality (7 of 15, 47% snakes died during hibernation) than autumn release snakes (14 of 15, 93% died either before, during or immediately after hibernation). Summer released snakes had larger home ranges (12 ha) than autumn release snakes (1 ha), and 65% (11 of 17) of summer released snakes gained weight prior to hibernation compared to 0% (0 of 15) of autumn-released snakes. Pregnant female snakes from three locations in Wisconsin USA were captured and 50% of each brood was retained for head-starting. Thirty-two head-started snakes were released with radio transmitters either in September 1999 (15 snakes, 1–3 years old) or July 2000 (16 snakes, two years old) and located daily after release until hibernation. All surviving snakes were re-captured in April 2001 and placed back in captivity.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson)

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