A Minimally Invasive Evaluation of an Urban Population of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in Western Missouri
Lyon, G. Travis
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Timber rattlesnakes in an urban, fragmented habitat located in Jackson county Missouri were captured and marked as part of a preliminary population assessment. Descriptive aspects of this population were measured for one active season (March-October, 2013) using minimally invasive sampling techniques. The population appears to be isolated and may have a limited foraging range because of its urban setting. Evidence suggests this population is small, as only four individuals were captured. Emergence began in late April, the first individual was found on April 30th, and the last individual found near the den was May 1st. Ingress data are inconclusive due to a small sample in the fall. The last individual, a young-of-year, was found on September 29th near the den, in transient habitat, and indicates this population is reproducing. The status of this population is assigned a rank based on the need of management using Generic Rank Guidelines. Protection and management of this population are recommended to insure the survival of remaining individuals. Non-invasive sampling techniques are urged while conducting research on small populations of Timber Rattlesnakes. Identifying unique dorsal patterns on each individual snake was a successful non-invasive method in this study, but has limited application due to the small sample size.