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Research: A Space Fit for a King

Our new paper detailing the movements and home ranges of king cobras is available now at: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685381-18000008


Summary – We found that king cobras use very large areas compared to other snakes. Only a couple of species come close, Drymarchon couperi (Hyslop et al. 2016) and Python bivittatus (introduced population; Hart et al 2015). Our Thai kings did not cover areas as large those tracked in India’s Western Ghats. Perhaps more importantly we show that kings will not remain restricted to protected forested areas, and that breeding season may present a time of heighten movements meaning greater contact with human threats.

For a summary of the snakes specific movements you can visit this page.


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Future directions – The tracking of king cobras in Thailand was difficult and as a result the data was not as well-structured and regimented as would be ideal. This prevented more sophisticated analysis. Currently, using the knowledge gained during this study, we are continuing to track king cobras aiming to produce a data-set that will be able to tease out some more nuanced information about their movements and habitat usage. Check out Silva et al. (2018) for an idea of future directions.

References:
Barve, S., Bhaisare, D., Giri, A., Shankar, P. G., Whitaker, R., & Goode, M. (2013). A preliminary study on translocation of “rescued” King Cobras (Ophiophagus hannah). Hamadryad, 36(6), 80–86.
Hart, K. M., Cherkiss, M. S., Smith, B. J., Mazzotti, F. J., Fujisaki, I., Snow, R. W., & Dorcas, M. E. (2015). Home range, habitat use, and movement patterns of non-native Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Animal Biotelemetry, 3(8), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40317-015-0022-2
Hyslop, N. L., Meyers, J. M., Cooper, R. J., & Stevenson, D. J. (2014). Effects of body size and sex of Drymarchon couperi (eastern indigo snake) on habitat use, movements, and home range size in Georgia. Journal of Wildlife Management, 78(1), 101–111. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.645
Marshall, B. M., Strine, C. T., Jones, M. D., Artchawakom, T., Silva, I., Suwanwaree, P., & Goode, M. (2018). Space fit for a king: spatial ecology of king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah) in Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve, Northeastern Thailand. Amphibia-Reptilia.
Silva, I., Crane, M., Suwanwaree, P., Strine, C., & Goode, M. (2018). Using dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models to identify home range size and movement patterns in king cobras. PLOS ONE, 13(9), e0203449. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203449
Strine, C. T., Silva, I., Crane, M., Nadolski, B., Artchawakom, T., Goode, M., & Suwanwaree, P. (2014). Mortality of a wild king cobra, Ophiophagus hannah Cantor, 1836 (Serpentes: Elapidae) from Northeast Thailand after ingesting a plastic bag. Asian Herpetological Research, 5(4), 284–286. https://doi.org/10.3724/SP.J.1245.2014.00284

 

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