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We radio-tracked nine Masticophis flagellum (Coachwhips) to determine home range, habitat use, and movements in eastern Texas from April to October 2000. Home ranges of Coachwhips contained more oak savanna macrohabitat than early-successional pine plantation or forested seep, based on the availability of these three macrohabitats in the study area. Likewise, within their individual home ranges, Coachwhips used oak savanna more than the other two macrohabitats, based on availability. An analysis of microhabitat use revealed that, relative to random sites within their home range, Coachwhips were found at sites with fewer pine trees and more herbaceous vegetation taller than 30 cm. Results of the two analyses, macrohabitat and microhabitat, were consistent: oak savannas contained relatively few pine trees but much herbaceous vegetation taller than 30 cm. Coachwhips made frequent long-distance moves, which resulted in large home ranges. Core activity areas, however, were small. These core activity areas were always within the oak savanna macrohabitat. Long movements, large home ranges, and small core activity areas likely were a result of the preferred oak savanna macrohabitat being patchily distributed in the landscape.


Johnson, Richard W.; Fleet, Robert R.; Keck, Michael B.; Rudolph, D. Craig. 2007. Spatial ecology of the coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum (Squamata: Colubridae), in eastern Texas. Southeastern Naturalist. 6(1): 111-124.



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