Resource selection by translocated three-toed box turtles in Missouri

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Resource selection is a multi-staged process of behavioral responses to various resource cues or stimuli. Previous research suggests some aspects of resource selection may be inherent (i.e., genetic predisposition) or based on early experience and that individuals respond to certain resource cues but not to others. In other words, resource selection may be based on a template that specifies which cues to use in the resource-selection process and the appropriate response to those cues. We used resource utilization functions (RUFs) to examine the resource-selection template of translocated three-toed box turtles (Terrapene Carolina triunguis; hereafter turtles) and made comparisons to resident turtles. Translocated turtles, previously residents of a predominantly forested landscape with low edge-density, used forest openings, forest edges, and southwest-facing slopes before and after translocation to a fragmented site containing resident turtles. In contrast, resident turtles used forested areas and northeast-facing slopes within a predominantly open landscape with high edge-density. Our comparison of resource selection by translocated and resident turtles revealed population-specific resource selection and consistency in selection following translocation, which reinforces the idea of a resource-selection template and suggests that in the short-term box turtles may not adapt their predisposed behavior to local conditions. Thus, translocated animals may evaluate and respond to resource cues as if they were at the original site. Lack of site fidelity may result from individuals seeking additional resources to match their resource-selection template. Successful translocation of turtles may require an assessment of resource selection prior to translocation and development of management strategies that mitigate turtle response to translocation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Missouri
  • Radiotracking
  • Resource selection
  • Terrapene carolina triunguis
  • Three-toed box turtle
  • Translocation
  • Utilization distribution


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