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Daily and seasonal activity patterns of free range South-American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus)

ALEXANDRO M. TOZETTI MARCIO MARTINS About the authors

This study aimed at describing daily and seasonal variation in the activity of a population of South-American rattlesnakes (Crotalus durissus) in a savanna like habitat (Cerrado) in Southeastern Brazil. Seasonal and daily activities of snakes were evaluated by the number of captures of snakes during road surveys, accidental encounters, and relocations by radio-tracking. Our results show that climatic variables such as air temperature and rainfall have little influence on the activity pattern of rattlesnakes. Our findings indicate that rattlesnakes spend most of the day resting and most of the night in ambush posture. The South-American rattlesnake is active throughout the year with a discrete peak in activity of males during the matting season. The possibility of maintaining activity levels even during the coldest and driest season can facilitate the colonization of several habitats in South America. This possibility currently facilitates the colonization of deforested areas by rattlesnakes.

Cerrado; ethology; squamata; radio-track


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