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TWS Member Tracks Rattlesnakes Around Bird Baths

Cara J

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Removing bird baths and other features where prey congregate has no effect on nuisance rattlesnakes turning up around homes, according to a recent study. “We wanted to try something else to see if we could prevent nuisance rattlesnakes from turning up in these areas,” said Erika Nowak, an associate research professor at the Northern Arizona University and lead author of a study recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Nowak, a member of The Wildlife Society, and her colleagues focused their study on Western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) — a migratory species typically found in the southwest United States and north Mexico. The researchers identified patterns that the snakes followed in two national monuments in Arizona, and noted where they crossed through watering stations used by mice, birds, rabbits and other animals snakes prey on. As part of the study, researchers used Sherman traps, pellet and scat counts, and point counting to determine what kinds of animals were attracted to watering stations. They also set up videos around water stations and tracked snakes fitted with radio telemetry devices. “We knew from other research that if you provided food to [the rattlesnakes], you could get them to change their habits,” Nowak [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/tws-member-tracks-rattlesnakes-around-bird-baths/

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