Hot bodies, cool data: insights from body temperature in the Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake


Mead, Joshua J.

jjmead@miners.utep.edu


Vicente Mata-Silva

Jerry D. Johnson


Department of Biological Sciences

The University of Texas at El Paso

El Paso, Texas USA


Snakes are able to alter their body temperature behaviorally by selecting locations on the landscape that correspond with preferred temperatures. Use of areas such as basking sites or burrows allow for adjustments from the ambient temperature. Small temperature data loggers, such as the WeePit Temperature Data Logger from Alpha Mach can be internally implanted within the coelomic cavity to record frequent internal temperature readings of individual snakes. We considered temperature data from six free ranging Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) in Hudspeth County, Texas. Internal body temperatures were recorded every thirty minutes over a year-long period. This is compared with bi-weekly temperature readings from Holohil SI-2T VHF transmitters. Data from this technology allows for valuable insights into the natural history of these secretive ectotherms.