Presentation Title

Site Selection for Parturition by Female Rattlesnakes in Osoyoos, British Columbia

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Habitat use and resource selection by individuals is a critical part of population ecology. However, different age classes and genders may utilize different sites for foraging, reproduction, shelter and overwintering. The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) is a good example of the species that shows variation in the habitat use between genders. Current research has been focused on identifying and describing unique rookery sites which are used by gravid female Rattlesnakes for parturition. Radiotelemetry technique was performed to monitor 9 gravid females from April to September 2017 in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The assessment of the vegetation cover and the topographic descriptions of an area were conducted for the qualitative analysis of located rookery sites. I used matched case-control study design and assessed habitat characteristics at three different scales. Monitored females successfully gave birth with an offspring size ranging from 1 to 5 neonates. Rookery sites had ~80% rock cover and were found on the south facing slopes (26% incline). Selection of rookeries by gravid Western Rattlesnakes was analysed with COXREG revealing that females gave birth at the sites with higher air and surface temperature and the sufficient cover of rocks. Information on the specific rookery sites and behavior assessed in this study can be used to further understand ecology of Western Rattlesnakes and facilitate conservation efforts targeting this species.

Department

Natural Resource Science

Faculty Advisor

Karl Larsen

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Site Selection for Parturition by Female Rattlesnakes in Osoyoos, British Columbia

Habitat use and resource selection by individuals is a critical part of population ecology. However, different age classes and genders may utilize different sites for foraging, reproduction, shelter and overwintering. The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) is a good example of the species that shows variation in the habitat use between genders. Current research has been focused on identifying and describing unique rookery sites which are used by gravid female Rattlesnakes for parturition. Radiotelemetry technique was performed to monitor 9 gravid females from April to September 2017 in Osoyoos, British Columbia. The assessment of the vegetation cover and the topographic descriptions of an area were conducted for the qualitative analysis of located rookery sites. I used matched case-control study design and assessed habitat characteristics at three different scales. Monitored females successfully gave birth with an offspring size ranging from 1 to 5 neonates. Rookery sites had ~80% rock cover and were found on the south facing slopes (26% incline). Selection of rookeries by gravid Western Rattlesnakes was analysed with COXREG revealing that females gave birth at the sites with higher air and surface temperature and the sufficient cover of rocks. Information on the specific rookery sites and behavior assessed in this study can be used to further understand ecology of Western Rattlesnakes and facilitate conservation efforts targeting this species.