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Movement and habitat use of the snapping turtle in an urban landscape

Abstract

In order to effectively manage urban habitats, it is important to incorporate the spatial ecology and habitat use of the species utilizing them. Our previous studies have shown that the distribution of upland habitats surrounding a highly urbanized wetland habitat, the Central Canal (Indianapolis, IN, USA) influences the distribution of map turtles (Graptemys geographica) and red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta) during both the active season and hibernation. In this study we detail the movements and habitat use of another prominent member of the Central Canal turtle assemblage, the common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina. We find the same major upland habitat associations for C. serpentina as for G. geographica and T. scripta, despite major differences in their activity (e.g., C. serpentina do not regularly engage in aerial basking). These results reinforce the importance of recognizing the connection between aquatic and surrounding terrestrial habitats, especially in urban ecosystems.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank C. Conner, B. Douthitt, and A. Stachniw, for their assistance with data collection. This research was supported by funds from the Butler University Holcomb Awards Committee and the Butler Summer Institute. This is a publication of the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University (http://www.butler.edu/urban-ecology/).

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Correspondence to Travis J. Ryan.

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Ryan, T.J., Peterman, W.E., Stephens, J.D. et al. Movement and habitat use of the snapping turtle in an urban landscape. Urban Ecosyst 17, 613–623 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-013-0324-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-013-0324-1

Keywords

  • Chelydra serpentina
  • Radiotelemetry
  • Riparian
  • Snapping turtle
  • Spatial ecology
  • Urbanization