Prey handling and diet of Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) and black pine snakes (P. melanoleucus lodingi), with comparisons to other selected colubrid snakes

Abstract

Diet and prey handling behavior were determined for Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) and black pine snakes (P. melanoleucus lodingi). Louisiana pine snakes prey heavily on Baird's pocket gophers (Geomys breviceps), with which they are sympatric, and exhibit specialized behaviors that facilitate handling this prey species within the confines of burrow systems. Black pine snakes, which are not sympatric with pocket gophers, did not exhibit these specialized behaviors. For comparative purposes, prey handling of P. sayi sayi and Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri was also examined.

  • Citation: Rudolph, D. Craig; Burgdorf, Shirley J.; Conner, Richard N.; Collins, Christopher S.; Saenz, Daniel; Schaefer, Richard R.; Trees, Toni; Duran, C. Michael; Ealy, Marc; Himes, John G. 2002. Prey handling and diet of Louisiana pine snakes (Pituophis ruthveni) and black pine snakes (P. melanoleucus lodingi), with comparisons to other selected colubrid snakes. Herpetological Natural History. 9(1): 57-62.

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