We examined three classes of factors that may influence brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) trappability on Guam: (1) attributes of the snake, (2) attributes of the environment and (3) attributes of the trap. The attributes of the snake we considered included body condition, length and sex. Heavier snakes for a given size (better body condition) moved less and were less easily trapped. Longer snakes were easier to trap. Males were also slightly more easily trapped than females. We compared brown treesnake trappability between two study sites that differed greatly in the abundance of diurnal skinks, an important prey item for smaller snakes. We predicted that snakes, especially small individuals (<800 mm snout-vent length), would be more easily trapped in the low prey environment, a result that received only weak support from our data. However, small snakes were rarely trapped under any circumstance. We also predicted that diurnal foraging would be observed in the site with a higher density of diurnal prey, but daytime snake captures were negligible at both sites. Two attributes of traps that we varied were attractant (mouse vs. skink) and entrance flaps (present vs. absent). Traps with mice as attractant registered 6-16 fold more snake captures. We found little influence of entrances on captures. These modulators of brown treesnake trappability may have analogues in a variety of species, especially species that undergo an ontogenetic shift in diet. ?? 2008 Brill Academic Publishers.
Additional Publication Details
Brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) trappability: Attributes of the snake, environment and trap