Study

Pursuing pepper protection: habanero pepper powder does not reduce raccoon predation of terrapin nests

  • Published source details Burke R.L., Vargas M. & Kanonik A. (2015) Pursuing pepper protection: habanero pepper powder does not reduce raccoon predation of terrapin nests. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 14, 201-203.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using chemical deterrents

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using artificial nest covers: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using chemical deterrents

    A replicated, controlled study in 2014 in one brackish wetland in New York, USA (Burke et al. 2015) found that applying habanero pepper Capsicum chinense powder to diamondback terrapin Malaclemys terrapin nests did not decrease predation compared to nests with no pepper powder. The number of predated nests was similar for those covered with pepper powder (10 g pepper: 15 of 15, 100%; 20 g pepper: 14 of 15, 93%) and those with no pepper powder (15 of 18, 83%) (statistical significance not assessed). The number of days until predation was also not affected by pepper treatment (10 g pepper: 1.3 days; 20 g pepper: 1.8 days) or no pepper (1.4 days). In addition, nests covered with pepper and a mesh cage had similar hatching success to nests covered with just a mesh cage (all doses of pepper: 78–83%; no pepper: 55–93%). In June–July, 30 nests were covered with habanero pepper powder (10 g: 15 nests; 20 g: 15 nests) and 18 nests received no pepper powder. A further two nests received 10 g of pepper and were covered with a metal mesh cage (buried 15 cm deep), and nine were covered with cages but received no pepper. All nests were monitored daily: uncaged nests for a minimum of seven days, and caged nests until mid-November, at which point they were excavated to determine hatching success.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

  2. Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using artificial nest covers: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated, controlled study in 2014 in one brackish wetland in New York, USA (Burke et al. 2015) found that diamondback terrapin Malaclemys terrapin nests that were covered with metal cages had high hatching success, and nests with no cages suffered very high levels of predation. Hatching success of nests covered with cages ranged from 55–93% (number predated not given). Nests with no cages suffered high levels of predation (15 of 18 to 15 of 15, 83–100% of nests; hatching success not given). In addition, the application of pepper powder to caged nests had no effect on hatching success (pepper: 55–93%; no pepper: 78–83%). In June–July freshly laid nests were located and 11 were covered with metal mesh cages (15 cm deep). Two nests were covered with 10 g of pepper powder, and 9 received no pepper. A further 48 nests received no cages, though 15 were covered with 10 g of pepper, and 15 with 20 g of pepper. All nests were monitored daily: uncaged nests for a minimum of seven days, and caged nests until mid-November, at which point they were excavated to determine hatching success.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

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