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Indigo Snake Capture Methods: Effectiveness of Two Survey Techniques for Drymarchon couperi in Georgia

ABSTRACT: Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake), a federally threatened species of thesoutheastern Coastal Plain, has presented challenges for surveyors, with few reliable methods developedfor its detection or monitoring. Surveys for D. couperi at potential underground shelters conducted inlate fall through early spring have been relatively successful when performed by experienced surveyors,especially in the northern portions of the range. However, trapping efforts for D. couperi conductedthroughout the range have met with limited success. To further evaluate detection methods, we completedtrapping and surveying from December 2002 to April 2004 in areas known to support D. couperi insoutheastern Georgia. We captured 18 D. couperi through surveys of potential underground sheltersfrom December 2002 to March 2003 (14 person-hours per capture) and six individuals through trapping(141 trap days or 27 in-field person-hours per capture). Trapping was most successful during early fall, aperiod when surveys are often less effective compared to those conducted in late fall through early spring.We recommend a combination of surveys from mid-fall through March in conjunction with trapping,especially from late-summer through fall in the northern portions of the snakeís range. We alsorecommend further experimentation with alternative trap designs and survey methods for D. couperi.

Publisher - Florida Academy of Sciences (FAS)

Subjects - Reptile, Indigo Snake, Drymarchon couperi


Citation: Hyslop NL, Meyers JM, Cooper RJ, Stevenson DJ. 2009. Indigo Snake Capture Methods: Effectiveness of Two Survey Techniques for Drymarchon couperi in Georgia. Florida Sci.; 72(2):93-100 http://plaza.ufl.edu/nhyslop/Publications/Hyslop%20et%20al%202009-%20Drymarchon%20capture-%20FL%20Sci.pdf