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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Behavioral responses of snakes to road encounters: can we generalize impacts across species? (a preliminary overview)

  • Author(s): Andrews, Kimberly M.
  • et al.

Habitat fragmentation from roads is widely recognized as an issue of environmental concern. On-road mortality is frequently noted in studies of snakes. The assumption that road mortality is the only, or even the major, detriment to wild snake populations, could be misleading. Some species could perceive threats posed by the road in a manner that lead them to avoid the road rather than crossing it. In these instances, the larger disruption is the creation of the barrier effect. Research on behavioral responses of snakes in road encounters could uncover patterns of species-specific vulnerabilities for snakes. These behavioral trials test the responses of snake species to primary threats posed by the road-zone, such as road openness and the vehicle. These databased on 846 behavioral tests with 27 species of southeastern snakes, will yield evidence for both mortality and fragmentation impacts on snake species.

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