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    BrownHash's Avatar
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    Territorial Behaviour in Australian Snakes

    I was just wondering if anyone knows of any papers on snakes and territorial behaviour?

    Something that discusses things like seasonal variation in the behaviour, different behaviour pattern between sex and species.

    Also, feel free to post your personal opinions on this.

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    Jasspa's Avatar
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    This website has many of Rick Shines papers over the last 25 years or so... some are really good reads. Not sure whether you will find what you are looking for but definately worth a sticky beak.

    Publications


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    $NaKe PiMp's Avatar
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    i have copys not sure how to link you to them???

    look through rick shines he has published telemetered studies on these species:

    Austrelaps ramsayi Shine, 1979
    Notechis scutatus Shine, 1979
    .. Pseudechis porphyriacus Shine, 1979

    look up this paper:
    Intraspecific Variation in Thermoregulation, Movements and
    Habitat Use by Australian Blacksnakes,
    Pseudechis porphyriacus (Elapidae)

    is a really good one on black snakes

    i will PM you some notes ive made that may intrest you

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownHash View Post
    I was just wondering if anyone knows of any papers on snakes and territorial behaviour?

    Something that discusses things like seasonal variation in the behaviour, different behaviour pattern between sex and species.

    Also, feel free to post your personal opinions on this.
    any species in particular?
    snakes bite, its what they do.

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    Waterrat is offline Regular Member
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    BrownHash, territoriality in animals is demonstrated by active protection of the animal's territory. Some species mark the boundaries with scent, scratch-marks, others protect their boundaries by physical presence or offensive behaviour to keep intruders away.
    In snakes, we don't see any of these characters. Modified behaviour during mating season or gender differences do not conform to territorial behaviour. Just because some species of snakes live in particular spot for a long time, does not mean that the patch is their territory.
    So, as I understand it, territoriality does not apply to snakes, at least not to Australian species. Any opinions on this?

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    $NaKe PiMp's Avatar
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    actually Australian snakes do occupy a teritory,telemetered studies have shown this ,
    have a read of the papers described above

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    Waterrat is offline Regular Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by $NaKe PiMp View Post
    actually Australian snakes do occupy a teritory,telemetered studies have shown this ,
    have a read of the papers described above

    "Occupying a territory" is the same as "living in one place". Shine et al. studies (using telemetry)showed that snakes (at least some spp.) have home ranges but there is no mention in their papers of territorial behaviour.
    Another reason why snakes don't conform to territoriality is - all territorial predators have even distribution - snakes don't. They have random distribution or in some cases clustered distribution. The latter is driven by either habitat preferences (e.g. Broadheadeds and snadstone slabs) or food availability (e.g. desert spp, following rats).

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    Jonno from ERD is offline Herp Books Sponsor
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    I agree with Michael - snakes may live in a certain geographical zone but they will share this zone with many other species of animals, including their own. This zone is not defended or protected, so I'm not sure whether they would be classed as "territorial".

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    Waterrat is offline Regular Member
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    To expand on Jonno's comments, I think snakes are actually very tolerant towards their con-specifics and other species as well.
    For 3 years I used to go a spot in Julatten where I would see a taipan and a carpet python both sharing area no bigger than 5 square metres. I knew exactly where each of them lived (rock and a log), they both basked every morning (well apart but not too far from each other) in the winter and both disappeared for a month or two during the breeding season then returned to the same spot. Both species prey on the same size / type of prey, which must have been abundant, yet there was a total harmony.
    This scenario is not uncommon, we can see the same at Fog Dam in NT where Water pythons, Keelback, Slaty-greys and Western browns co-inhabit the same "territory" as one could put it.

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    i see exactly what you mean as in "one spot"but there home range is the territory i am describing ,i think we just confusing terminolgy each other is using.Snakes in studies dont show territorial behavior thats for sure except male on male combat during repro.
    Anyway theres plenty of papers there i have had to do alot of research of the black snake papers in particular.I would often get side tracked onto other elapid papers though lol they are the most fascinating creatures of all to me.

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    Mate, I am sorry but territory and home range are two VERY different concepts.
    Also, male combat is not a territorial behaviour in any sense. They combat over mating supremacy, not over territory. Entagled males often travel way outside their home ranges.
    Are you saying that Red-bellied black snakes are territorial? Reference please.

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    Thanks guys, you've given me a lot to think about.

    The reason I ask is that I had a discussion with a friend and he believed that snakes were terrritorial, where as I was more of the opinion that they are not and just had preferred home ranges. I was hoping to find some research that would give a conclusive answer.

    When I've got a bit of time this weekend I'll have a read of Rick's work.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtulip10 View Post
    any species in particular?
    Nah, just snakes in general

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    $NaKe PiMp's Avatar
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    oh yea i see,people have often made that claim,for what reason and where they get the idea from that snakes protect a territory,and will attack things that come into it or something along those lines. Quite puzzling but people think all sorts of things,thats why where lucky studys are taken out to see exactly what happens and we dont have to wonder so much.

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    Waterrat is offline Regular Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownHash View Post
    Thanks guys, you've given me a lot to think about.

    The reason I ask is that I had a discussion with a friend and he believed that snakes were terrritorial, where as I was more of the opinion that they are not and just had preferred home ranges. I was hoping to find some research that would give a conclusive answer.

    When I've got a bit of time this weekend I'll have a read of Rick's work.



    Nah, just snakes in general
    If snakes are territorial, look for Rick's interpretation but if they are not, you won't find much there. Just keep in mind that it's important to distinguish the meaning of the terms territoriality, home ranges, territorial behaviour, permanent residency, temporary residency, intra and intro-specific interactions and agonistic behaviour. An interpretation of behaviour is the key.

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    Waterrat is offline Regular Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by $NaKe PiMp View Post
    oh yea i see,people have often made that claim,for what reason and where they get the idea from that snakes protect a territory,and will attack things that come into it or something along those lines. Quite puzzling but people think all sorts of things,thats why where lucky studys are taken out to see exactly what happens and we dont have to wonder so much.

    That is something I have to sleep on. .... for long time.

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