Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Georgia Student Questions Why Snakes Cross Roadways

Date:
October 30, 2002
Source:
University Of Georgia
Summary:
Kimberly Andrews is no ordinary student. When challenged by University of Georgia ecology professor Whit Gibbons to come up with a research project that would add to the scientific literature on herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians), she came up with a twist on the old riddle: "Why do snakes cross the road?"

ATHENS, Ga. -- Kimberly Andrews is no ordinary student. When challenged by University of Georgia ecology professor Whit Gibbons to come up with a research project that would add to the scientific literature on herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians), she came up with a twist on the old riddle: "Why do snakes cross the road?"

Related Articles


Gibbons -- a noted herpetologist who's also a senior researcher at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (a research unit of UGA) -- was stumped. Andrews smiled; she had found her project.

The traditional wisdom on the topic is that snakes use the road to thermoregulate, according to Andrews. In other words, it has been thought that since roadways soak up heat, a snake will seek them out to increase its body's temperature.

"But you almost never see a snake coiled up on a roadway," says Andrews. "And when you do see one in the road, they are booking it."

So, why do snakes cross the road? To answer that question, Andrews has developed a unique study protocol. Using a dead-end road on the Savannah River Site, a U.S. Department of Energy facility in Aiken, S.C., she has marked concentric circles to map the directions of her study subjects. Here she releases individuals of different species, one at a time, using a bucket on a pulley to settle the snake down before release. She then observes from a specially constructed blind, raises the bucket and records the behavior of the snake. Andrews also notes the conditions at the time of release.

The research is expected to take a year and will involve several hundred snakes of all sizes and most species native to the Southeast, including venomous varieties. From her tests so far, Andrews has been able to determine that most snakes would rather not cross the road and when they do, they do so quickly with apparent fear when a vehicle approaches.

Habitat destruction and division may spur some snake travel, according to Andrews. Roadkill is often noticeably increased in areas where development occurs. Her work may provide wildlife managers with useful information in the future.

For more information on the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, visit http://www.uga.edu/srel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Georgia. "University Of Georgia Student Questions Why Snakes Cross Roadways." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021030073629.htm>.
University Of Georgia. (2002, October 30). University Of Georgia Student Questions Why Snakes Cross Roadways. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021030073629.htm
University Of Georgia. "University Of Georgia Student Questions Why Snakes Cross Roadways." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021030073629.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins