Sexual and seasonal differences in activity in a northern population of snapping turtles, Chelydra serpentina

Gregory P. Brown, Ronald J. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We compared activity and rates and distances of movements between adult male and female snapping turtles, Chelydra serpentina, to test the hypothesis that their differential use of space would reflect differences in reproductive strategies. Turtles ended hibernation in late April, and most breeding activity occurred from then until nesting ended in mid- to late June. Females were largely inactive and stationary during May. Their activity and movement increased dramatically as they began to move to nest sites in late May and early June. Males were highly active and mobile throughout May, and they appeared to be engaged in extensive patrolling and search activity which sometimes culminated in copulatory or agonistic encounters. When females began moving towards nesting sites, some males moved into "bottlenecks" along migration routes. In July, after nesting, females were more active than were males, whereas during August, males and females exhibited similar levels of activity. We conclude that resources associated with reproduction led to differences between the sexes in use of space and activity, especially during the breeding season.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-318
Number of pages8
JournalHerpetologica
Volume49
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chelydra
  • Activity
  • Movement
  • Behavior
  • Sexual Strategy
  • Algonquin Park

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