Greater sage-grouse chick killed by Great Basin gopher snake

Western North American Naturalist
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Despite extensive range overlap between Great Basin gopher snakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) and Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) within sagebrush ecosystems, there are few documented predator–prey interactions between these species. Although gopher snakes have been observed preying on nests of other prairie grouse, studies that used video-monitoring at sage-grouse nests found gopher snakes unable to consume sage-grouse eggs and reported just a single instance of a snake consuming a <1-day-old chick in a nest bowl. On the morning of 4 June 2018 at 04:55, we observed a Great Basin gopher snake killing, constricting, and attempting to consume a 19-day-old sage-grouse chick in the foothills of the Owyhee Mountains, southwestern Idaho. This observation is the first record of a gopher snake killing a sage-grouse chick during the late brood-rearing period and highlights the likelihood that large gopher snakes are a cause of chick mortality from hatch day to at least 19 days post-hatch.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Greater sage-grouse chick killed by Great Basin gopher snake
Series title Western North American Naturalist
DOI 10.3398/064.080.0107
Volume 80
Issue 1
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Brigham Young University
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 4 p.
First page 70
Last page 73
Country United States
State Idaho
County Owyhee County
Other Geospatial Owyhee Mountains
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