The researchers are studying timber rattlesnakes and copperheads in their Pitviper Research Project. They hope their efforts will educate the public and convince people that they can live with the species without destroying them. Wayne Drda is the Washington University researcher. Jeff Ettling, reptile curator at the Saint Louis Zoo, is another member of the research team. The third member is Ryan Turnquist, a biology major at Saint Louis University. Friends of the three researchers and the Missouri Department of Conservation also assist in the study.
"I am the field manager, organizer, and I oversee the equipment," Drda said.
"Jeff will be doing the DNA analysis work, and Ryan helps with the field work and is our GPS/GIS computer whiz."
Most people detest snakes, so the first instinct is to eliminate them, said Drda, who researches at Washington University's Tyson Research Center and who recently assisted Corey Anderson, former Washington University biology graduate student, with his doctoral thesis on rattlesnake and copperhead population behaviors. Anderson, a student of Alan Templeton, Ph.D., Washington University professor of biology, now is a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Arizona State University.
"You can live with the knowledge that timber rattlesnakes and copperheads are in your area, and if you have a problem, you need to go to herpetologists, who can figure out a plan or help remove the snakes," he said. "We don't want to see people become nature vigilantes."
The researchers take captured snakes and implant a small radio transmitter on them to study movement, migration patterns and habitat use.
"Our goals are to understand the ways of these species and to educate suburbanites and rural people about them, so that we can keep a proper balance in the face of development," Drda said.
The researchers have found things about timber rattlesnakes that are counterintuitive. Their breeding time is late summer through early fall, not the spring. While males can wander as much as a couple of miles a week, the females, after giving birth, stay with newborns until the young shed about seven to 10 days later. The females generally stay closer to home, but the males are more active and consequently have longer home ranges.
Most adults are 'homies' — returning to the same area year after year after leaving their den sites. Others seek out new turf, especially during their rapid growth.
Timber rattlesnakes have rattles that are rarely used because with camouflage it makes no sense for them to give away their location, Drda added.
The quintessential suburban lawn is not the preferred habitat of timber rattlesnakes. Occasionally, though, a suburbanite in the colleagues' research area sees one passing through. The team works with residents in the study area to be notified when a rattlesnake is spotted so that the researchers can capture and release the snakes safely.
Tony Fitzpatrick | EurekAlert!
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences
24.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2018 | Trade Fair News