Home range behavior among box turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) of a bottomland forest in Maryland

Journal of Herpetology




Eastern box turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) in a Maryland bottomland forest were studied over a period of years (1944-1981). Home ranges of 51 males averaged 146 + SD 48 m long and 105 + SD 38 m wide; ranges of 52 females averaged 144 + SD 52 m long and 100 + SD 38 m wide. An approximation of average home range size, based on an ellipse, is 1.20 ha for males and 1.13 ha for females. Sizes of home ranges of individuals did not differ significantly between 1945 and the full term of their captures (0 =14 yr) (AOV; P > 0.05). Mean distance between capture sites, which provides an index to range size, was not significantly different among the years of 1945, 1955, 1965, and 1975 (AOV; P > 0.05). Geographic centers of ranges of 77 males in the bottomlands showed no significant (AOV; P > 0.05) change for 46, and change over relatively short distances (0 =57 + SD 23 m) for the others. Among 70 females, there was no significant change for 46 and change over short distances (0=61 + SD 24 m) for the others. Changes in location were more frequent between 1965 and 1975, a period of pronounced population decline, than between previous decades (significant only for females, x2 P < 0.025). Hibernation sites ordinarily (21 of 23 Individuals) were within the normal bottom]and range; hibernation sites of different years were near each other (all of 4 individuals). In contrast, nesting sites were far distant, extending the home range by 400-700 m, but those of different years were near each other (6 individuals). Mating partners occupied broadly overlapping or contiguous ranges (35 records). Interactions between males (18 records) were identical to courtship behavior, and are believed not to represent territorial aggression.

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Home range behavior among box turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) of a bottomland forest in Maryland
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Journal of Herpetology
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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
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Journal of Herpetology
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