Snake Count Protocol – Road Count
Conducting a Road Snake Count
The Road Count technique is used if you are walking, biking, or driving a road. Road surfaces provide a large observation surface which can greatly increase the detection of snakes. All snakes encountered along the road route are recorded on a single datasheet. If you conduct a Road Count along several routes or the same route on different days, please use a separate datasheet. You can download the Road Count datasheet here: Road Count Datasheet.
When conducting a Road Count, please record the following:
1. Record observers/participants
2. Route name
3. Record location
b. Record start/end location of route (UTMs are preferred)
4. Record start and end times
Please give each road route a name based on a unique feature along the route. This will allow us to establish specific routes to use in future counts.
For each snake found, please enter its name (see Snake Names below) on your datasheet and the number found under each Observation Code. This allows you to enter multiple snakes of the same species in the same habitat on each line of the datasheet without duplicating your entry. Please also record a general habitat type where you found each species. If you find a species in more than one habitat type, please make a separate entry on a new line for the new habitat type (see Recording Habitat below). Any additional comments or photo numbers can be recorded in the Comments section.
The Center for Snake Conservation (CSC) has adopted the Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America as published by the Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptiles (SSAR). The CSC uses a shorthand 9-letter code for each species based on the scientific names in the SSAR publication. You can find the 9-letter code for each species in the state lists on the CSC website here. Please use this code on your datasheets to help simplify and organize your data. Please avoid using additional common names or scientific names not adopted by the SSAR or the CSC.
The following are definitions for the Observation Codes found on the Road Count datasheet:
· AOR--Alive on Road
· DOR--Dead on Road
· JOR—Just off Road
When recording “habitat type” for each snake encounter, use general terms. For example use descriptions similar to the following: deciduous upland forest, pine flatwoods, pine plantation, floodplain, desert scrub, short-grass prairie, tall-grass prairie, river, creek, pond.
If possible, provide more complete definitions and details of each habitat type used in each snake encounter occurrence on the “Habitat Definition” sheet. These descriptions will allow us to further characterize habitats searched during the snake count.