Movements of translocated and resident three-toed box turtles

Chadwick D. Rittenhouse, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Michael W. Hubbard, Steven L. Sheriff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Translocation of terrestrial turtles occurs to mitigate habitat loss, increase population size or genetic diversity, and to establish new populations. The success of many translocation efforts often depends on social and economic factors, but ecological factors may also affect translocation success. We used radiotelemetry to evaluate Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) movements before and after translocation from a continuously forested site to a highly fragmented site and made comparisons to resident turtles. The average distance moved between consecutive 28-h relocations (dist_move) pretranslocation versus posttranslocation depended on turtle origin. Turtles translocated from the continuously forested site had greater mean dist_move following translocation, whereas resident turtles at the fragmented site had similar dist_move in both periods. Translocated turtles traveled greater total distances, had greater net displacement, and greater home-range size than resident turtles. Additionally, translocated turtles had directed movements, whereas resident turtles did not. Homing behavior or directed movement toward continuous forest adjacent to the release site may account for the movement patterns observed. Future translocations should consider the landscape context of the release sites as well as the landscape context of the original capture location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


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