* Population ecology of Pale-headed Snakes

Author: 
Michael Shelton, Ross Goldingay & Steve Phillips
Publisher: 
Australian Journal of Zoology
Abstract: 

This paper desribes the use of regularly spaced transect searches and standard capture–mark–recapture techniques to describe population structure, growth rates, survival and capture probability in a population of the pale-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bitorquatus). Within the red gum forests of our study site, we estimate pale-headed snake density at ~137/ha. We predict that snakes reach sexual maturity after about four years and may live for up to 20. Our results confirm that the species is a 'k' strategist, characterised by slow maturation and low fecundity. These traits suggest that populations will recover slowly following decline, exacerbating the risk of local extinction.