Date of Award
College of Science
Type of Degree
Dr. Jayme Waldron, Committee Chairperson
Dr. Shane Welch
Dr. Thomas Pauley
Dr. Ernie Wiggers
Internal implantation of radio-transmitters is the preferred attachment technique for snakes, but the high costs and invasive nature of the surgery make a functional alternative desirable. External radio-transmitters are cost-effective alternatives to surgical implantation. Rattlesnake rattles are unique morphological features that can serve as an attachment site for external radio-transmitters. Using thread and epoxy, I attached transmitters to the rattles of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus; EDB). I calculated average monitoring duration using radio telemetry data collected from 49 adult EDBs telemetered from 2014 to 2017 in coastal South Carolina. On average, we monitored EDBs for 189 ±78 days with 14 EDBs monitored > 240 days and 3 EDBs monitored >300 days. External transmitter attachment is a viable alternative to surgical implantation, providing a non-invasive approach to monitoring rattlesnakes. The EDB is a long-lived, large-bodied pit viper endemic to southeastern pine savannas and woodlands. The EDB is declining, and conservation efforts, including long-distance translocation, are being undertaken to aid in the species’ recovery. Long-distance translocation to re-establish or supplement populations of viperids has yielded mixed results, with survival averaging less than 50%. I translocated EDBs (N = 21) from a sea island population to a pine savanna restoration area located on private property in South Carolina, 2016-2017, and estimated post-translocation survival probability. I ran various known-fate models in MARK to analyze covariates affecting survival probability. The top model had time since egress as the most important survival covariate, and probability of surviving to the end of the study was 83%. This study will further our understanding of the efficacy of translocation as a conservation tool for EDB restoration.
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
Jungen, Michael Thomas, "Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) telemetry techniques and translocation" (2018). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 1194.