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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Movements and habitat choice of resident and translocated adult female grass snakes (natrix natrix) during the egg-laying period

Elmberg, Johan; Hagman, Mattias; Löwenborg, Kristin; Pettersson, Gustav; Voisin, Anais; Kärvemo, Simon


We used externally applied transmitters to study movements of female grass snakes (Natrix natrix) during the egg-laying period in a near-urban landscape in Sweden. Half of the studied snakes were residents while the other half were translocated individuals with no previous experience of the area. As predicted, resident females moved more goal-oriented and shorter distances than did translocated individuals. Habitat use did not differ between resident and translocated snakes; they were typically found in bushes, reeds, and tall vegetation. Habitat preference (use in relation to availability) showed that bushy habitats, tall grassy vegetation and reedbeds were over-used in proportion to availability, whereas forest and open grass lawns were used less than expected based on availability. Our study highlights the importance of preserving and restoring linear habitat components providing shelter and connectivity in conservation of grass snakes. We suggest that externally applied transmitters are a better option than surgically implanted ones in movement studies of grass snakes, and that translocation as a conservation method for snakes has drawbacks.


colubridae; external transmitters; oviposition; radio tracking; telemetry; translocation

Published in

Herpetological Journal
2019, Volume: 29, number: 4, pages: 245-251

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