Site fidelity, movement, and visibility following translocation of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) from a wildlife rehabilitation center in the high plains of Texas

J. Alan Sosa, Gad Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both injured and uninjured box turtles (Terrapene spp.) are admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centers where they are treated and/or released. However, nothing is known of their movements, activity, and site fidelity following release. Studies of other reptiles suggest site fidelity and survival following release may be poor. We translocated 17 adult, two juvenile, and 20 hatchling Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) from a wildlife rehabilitation center in Lubbock, Texas to four sites varying in degree of urbanization. Forty percent of hatchlings remained at the original release sites, but only 24% of adults (all females) did so. Adults and hatchlings displayed roughly similar bimodal activity patterns related to time of day, and activity related to median ambient temperature range during the study period. Hatchlings were significantly more active than adults over a wider range of relative humidity and at higher relative humidity, however. Translocated hatchling home range size did not differ significantly between urban and natural release sites. Translocation of hatchling turtles may be a viable conservation strategy, though mortality of these age cohorts (25%) should be considered when planning translocations. Our data suggest translocations of adults are not likely to be successful in most cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Dispersal
  • Home range
  • Restoration ecology
  • Urban ecology

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