Data from: Cozy in the city: the morphology and spatial ecology of copperheads in an urban forest
2020-10-05, Carrasco-Harris, Malle F., Cole, Judith A., Reichling, Steve
Anthropogenic environments alter behaviors in a wide variety of taxa. We examined the morphology and spatial ecology of Agkistrodon contortrix Linnaeus (Eastern Copperhead) within an urban forest and a rural forest in Tennessee. We captured snakes for morphological data and radio tracked 36 urban and 8 rural subjects to collect spatial data. We estimated home range size, core area, and movement parameters (total distance moved; daily, sampling, and monthly movement) using relocation data. Copperheads in the urban forest were smaller but did not differ in body condition compared to rural conspecifics. We found urban Copperheads had reduced home ranges, core areas, and movement parameters compared to rural subjects. Our study suggests urban snakes alter spatial behavior by decreasing overall movement.
Data from: Spatial ecology of copperhead snakes (Agkistrodon contortrix) in response to urban park trails
2020-03-20, Carrasco-Harris, Malle F., Cole, Judith A., Reichling, Steve
NOTE: An updated and larger version of this dataset is available. See https://doi.org/10.5441/001/1.1rs3j824. ABSTRACT: Urban forests and parks are important for recreation and may serve as a natural corridor for commuters. The consequences of human-mediated disturbance in natural areas are documented for avian and mammalian species. Less is known about the consequences of human disturbance on reptile species, specifically snakes, residing in natural refuges within the urban matrix. Thus, we examined the spatial activity of copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix) in regard to pedestrian trails within an urban forest. We used radio telemetry to track snakes during the active season and estimated distances moved in between relocations, distances to the nearest trail and home range size for individuals. We found sex and season, but not distance to the nearest trail, affected the distance snakes moved. In addition, we observed a weak, positive relationship between home range size and average distance to the trail. Sex, season and body condition did not explain snake distance to the trail, but individual patterns were variable for snakes compared to random locations generated from snake relocations. Our study indicates copperheads may be tolerant of low-level human disturbances found in an urban forest. Further work should be done to quantify levels of disturbance, such as trail use, and compare the behavior of reptiles across urban park types and locations.