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The Homing Instinct of Relocated Snakes

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  • The Homing Instinct of Relocated Snakes

    By Alton Parrish (Reporter)

    A pioneering study by the University of Kent on the effects of relocating adders due to development has found that males will disperse from their release site – with one even going so far as to return to his original home.

    All native reptiles are protected by law, which means that animals found to be present on sites scheduled for development are often moved to alternative habitats. Reptiles are frequently the targets of these translocations but there is little information on their fate or how their behavior compares to individual animals that are left where they are. This is a Vipera berus adder being tracked.

    For the study, researchers Darryn Nash and Professor Richard Griffiths from Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, tracked adders (Vipera berus) translocated from a development site in Essex (UK) in 2014.

    Some of the snakes were fitted with external radio tags and tracked for a period of 10 days during the spring and summer. The movements of the translocated adders were compared to those of ‘resident’ snakes already present at the release site.