ABS 2022
Behavior of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) on a University campus in Florida.
Ella Guedouar, Charles Gunnels IV, Wendy Brosse, John Herman, Matthew Metcalf. Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, United States

Human development replaces wild areas with infrastructure that interferes with species’ natural behavior, pressuring behavioral plasticity for survival. However, wildlife may benefit from peri-urban development that incorporates natural areas into human landscapes. Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) campus incorporates an eco-centric design that supports native wildlife. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) populations have declined due to habitat loss and hunting. Peri-urban environments may support some snake species such as C. adamanteus. A long-term radio telemetry study of 17 individuals at FGCU shows that 37% of their time is spent near along edge habitats next to roads and sidewalks. This may be due to the thermal gradients or increased prey availability that edge habitats provide for snakes. However, C. adamanteus remain stationary and rarely rattle when encountered, which could reinforce their crypsis in an environment with large numbers of people. C. adamanteus may be a useful model for other snake species existing within a peri-urban environment, and their success can speak to the advantages that this design provides in support of wildlife.