We have just started a study to determine the current distribution of the Southern Hognose Snake, Short-tailed Snake, Florida Pine Snake, and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.
Taking a measurement of a H. Simus found during the study
Florida Pine Snake, Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus
Short-tailed Snake, Lampropeltis extenuata
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding to the FWC for status surveys of the southern hognose snake (Heterodon simus), Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus) and eastern diamond-back rattlesnake (Crotalus ada-manteus), all of which have been petitioned for federal listing as threatened. To determine the current distribution of these spe-cies and the short-tailed snake (Lampropeltis extenuata), reptile and amphibian researchers solicited sightings through online surveys and conducted system-atic road surveys. Two seasonal technicians, Steve Christman and Glenn Bartolotti, were hired to conduct most of the road sur-veys, and Jonathan Mays de-signed a database to record and summarize the snake survey re-sults.
We designed an occupancy mod-eling study for the southern hog-nose and pine snake, selecting 33 survey routes through upland habitats. The routes were ap-proximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) long, and researchers sur-vey each three to seven times from September to November. Driving 16,307 kilometers (10,133 miles) yielded 170 snakes of 20 species (65 percent were alive), but only three south-ern hognoses and one pine snake. We averaged 0.01 snakes per mile in the peninsula and 0.03 snakes per mile in the pan-handle. Black racers (Coluber constrictor) accounted for 40 per-cent of the snakes seen, and dia-mondbacks were the fourth most common species.
We were much more successful at soliciting snake sightings, re-ceiving credible reports of 54 southern hognose, 163 pine snakes, 32 short-tailed snakes and 659 diamondbacks.
Update to project 8/26/14
Solicitation of records from the public via 2 FWC webpages, posters, emails, or phone calls produced numerous credible sightings: 90 southern hognose, 44 short-tailed, 231 Florida pine, and 953 eastern diamondback rattlesnake. We ran almost 40 road-survey routes multiple times in September‒November 2013 but detected only 1 pine snake, 3 southern hognoses, and 14 diamondback rattlesnakes (170 specimens of 20 species in >10,000 km). In April‒June 2014, we revised our survey methodology, only targeting areas without recent records of southern hognose snakes and eliminating pre-determined road routes. We drove a total of 10,579 km and detected 1 southern hognose, 1 pine snake, and 7 diamondback rattlesnakes (129 specimens of 20 species). We installed 2 drift-fence arrays each in sandhill habitat at Camp Blanding Military Reservation, Ocala National Forest, St. Marks NWR, and Suwannee Ridge Mitigation Park WEA. There are no recent records of southern hognose snakes from these areas. In April-June 2014, we trapped over 4,000 amphibians and reptiles representing 51 species, including 8 pine snakes at Suwannee Ridge WEA and 3 pine snakes and 1 short-tailed snake at Ocala National Forest. Traps will be run again September‒November. Locations of these species are being used to produce potential habitat maps.
We’ll be soliciting sightings on the webpages at the FWC website for entering observations above.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus
Southern Hognose Snake, Heterodon simus