Diet of a Population of Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) in Kansas

Authors

  • Colleen Rothe-Groleau Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Keywords:

Crotalus viridis, diet, prairie rattlesnake, prey, rodent

Abstract

This study examined prey items consumed and seasonal feeding events within a Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) population near Ulysses, Kansas, USA. A total of 183 specimens were collected over a period of three consecutive years (2012‒2015) during the active season from April to October. Most prey items consumed by this population were taken in spring between emergence from hibernacula and mating in early summer. Gravid females continued to take prey, likely opportunistically, while gestating. The only ontogenetic shift in diet composition was related directly to prey size. Larger snakes exhibited a preference for larger prey items. The two most abundant taxa in the diet of this population were Peromyscus spp (29.8%) and Sylvilagus spp (17.0%). Only one juvenile had consumed any prey within a week of capture.

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Published

2022-06-09

How to Cite

Rothe-Groleau, C. (2022). Diet of a Population of Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) in Kansas. Journal of North American Herpetology, 2022(1). Retrieved from https://journals.ku.edu/jnah/article/view/15758