A STUDY OF THE DEFENSIVE BEHAVIORS OF FREE-RANGING DEKAY'S BROWNSNAKES, STORERIA DEKAYI (HOLBROOK, 1836)

Brian S. Gray
2015 Journal of North American Herpetology  
The defensive behaviors of free-ranging Dekay's Brownsnakes, Storeria dekayi, were studied at a site in Erie County, Pennsylvania, USA. Twenty-nine unique sequences of defensive behavior were documented. A total of 50 individual snakes (26 males and 24 females) provided 88 observations during the initial phase, of which 78% (n = 69) were of snakes that remained in place. Snakes were tapped with the investigator's hand to elicit defensive behaviors during the contact phase. Snakes were more than
more » ... akes were more than twice as likely to attempt to flee during the contact phase (46%) than during the initial phase (22%). During the contact phase, mean surface body temperatures were significantly higher in snakes attempting to flee (22.3 ± 1.3 °C) than those that remained in place (16.1 ± 2.2 °C). The most frequently observed response during the contact phase was dorso-ventral flattening of the head and body (n = 42). During capture, most snakes (94%) smeared their cloacal contents on themselves and the investigator's hand.
doi:10.17161/jnah.vi1.11906 fatcat:lp5gjq4anjfijdmvltuk3xlyfm