Event Title

ES6 -- Movement and Behavioral Patterns of Northern Watersnakes in South Carolina Riverine Systems and Man-Made Bodies of Water

Location

URC Greatroom

Start Date

8-4-2022 10:30 AM

End Date

8-4-2022 12:15 PM

Description

Northern Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon) have been documented and found in a variety of different habitats including both natural and man-made water systems. This research project took a more in depth look of habitat use of a cold-water riverine system and a man-made lake both located at Table Rock State Park, Pickens, South Carolina. This study monitored home-range, specific habitat preferences, and overall movement and behavioral patterns of three snakes in situ over a three-month period from September to November of 2021. Two snakes were captured and found to reside in a cold-water riverine system, while the third was captured and resided in the man-made lake, both at Table Rock State Park. All three of the subjects were tracked using radio telemetry about twice a week. Radio Telemetry is a universally accepted method of tracking reptiles. The snake is captured by the researcher while it is in its natural habitat, then taken to an approved location for a transmitter surgery to be performed. While the snake is under anesthesia, a transmitter is inserted into the snake. The snake is monitored closely after the surgery and then released back at the site of capture. The transmitter gives off a signal that is picked up by a receiver held by the researcher. The researcher then tracks the snake in order to gather GPS points, requiring the researcher to get out into the field and visually locate the snake, making the data gathered more accurate and precise. The results of this study show that the N. sipedon located in the cold-water riverine system prefer to stay in the same areas, spending most of their time in brush piles right next to the water and near the site of capture. The N. sipedon found in the nearby lake, however, has a much larger home-range, expanding its habitat across the entire shore of the lake and parts of the riverine system, sometimes being a significant distance away from the site of capture. Further research should be done with a larger sample size of snakes in both habitats in order to further deduce whether the home-range, movement, behavior, and habitat preference are truly different between the two different aquatic systems.

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Apr 8th, 10:30 AM Apr 8th, 12:15 PM

ES6 -- Movement and Behavioral Patterns of Northern Watersnakes in South Carolina Riverine Systems and Man-Made Bodies of Water

URC Greatroom

Northern Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon) have been documented and found in a variety of different habitats including both natural and man-made water systems. This research project took a more in depth look of habitat use of a cold-water riverine system and a man-made lake both located at Table Rock State Park, Pickens, South Carolina. This study monitored home-range, specific habitat preferences, and overall movement and behavioral patterns of three snakes in situ over a three-month period from September to November of 2021. Two snakes were captured and found to reside in a cold-water riverine system, while the third was captured and resided in the man-made lake, both at Table Rock State Park. All three of the subjects were tracked using radio telemetry about twice a week. Radio Telemetry is a universally accepted method of tracking reptiles. The snake is captured by the researcher while it is in its natural habitat, then taken to an approved location for a transmitter surgery to be performed. While the snake is under anesthesia, a transmitter is inserted into the snake. The snake is monitored closely after the surgery and then released back at the site of capture. The transmitter gives off a signal that is picked up by a receiver held by the researcher. The researcher then tracks the snake in order to gather GPS points, requiring the researcher to get out into the field and visually locate the snake, making the data gathered more accurate and precise. The results of this study show that the N. sipedon located in the cold-water riverine system prefer to stay in the same areas, spending most of their time in brush piles right next to the water and near the site of capture. The N. sipedon found in the nearby lake, however, has a much larger home-range, expanding its habitat across the entire shore of the lake and parts of the riverine system, sometimes being a significant distance away from the site of capture. Further research should be done with a larger sample size of snakes in both habitats in order to further deduce whether the home-range, movement, behavior, and habitat preference are truly different between the two different aquatic systems.