TitleTemporal dynamics of emergence and dispersal of garter snakes from a communal den in Manitoba
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsShine, R, Langkilde, T, Wall, M, Mason, RT
JournalWildlife Research
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Although garter snakes at communal overwintering dens on the Canadian prairies have attracted considerable behavioural ecology research, previous studies have relied upon sampling of active animals to describe broad patterns of distribution and abundance of snakes within the den population. We conducted a mark-recapture study to directly quantify temporal and spatial variation in the phenotypic traits (sex, size, body condition) of snakes at the den itself, and those dispersing through woodland 50 m away. Captures of 909 snakes on the days they emerged, and 6653 snakes as they dispersed, revealed massive spatiotemporal heterogeneity in phenotypic traits among samples. Day-to-day variation in weather conditions affected numbers and sex ratios of emerging and dispersing snakes; for example, small females dispersed in greater numbers after unusually cold nights, when harassment by courting males was reduced. Most snakes stayed at the den only briefly (

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000236712400004