Thompson Rivers University

Northern Pacific rattlesnakes: They live here and the Mediterranean

Mike Cardwell, wildlife biologist with the University of California, presents as part of the Environmental Sciences Seminar Series.

Abstract:

This presentation summarizes the behaviour and ecology of the same rattlesnake species found around Thompson Rivers University as is also found in the Mediterranean climate, nearly 1,400 kilometres south of Kamloops.

About 30 species of the genus Crotalus are distributed from about 30o south latitude to over 50o north latitude in the new world, where they inhabit a wide variety of temperate and tropical habitats.

And like all organisms, they are genetically programmed for behaviours that maximize their lifetime reproductive success.

This natural selection produces different annual activity patterns in different climates–even within the same species.

While Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus o. oreganus) at high latitudes with harsh winters must invest time, energy and risk of predation in biannual migrations to and from well-established communal dens year after year, conspecifics in warmer conditions spend winters in various shelters within their summer foraging range, without dangerous and energetically-expensive migrations.

This presentation summarizes the behaviour and ecology of the same rattlesnake species found around Thompson Rivers University as is also found in the Mediterranean climate, nearly 1,400 kilometres south of Kamloops.