We conducted a study of the amphibian, reptile, and small mammal community assemblage of Ozark pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius ozarkensis) habitat in north-central Arkansas. We used 2 methods to capture individuals: hand capture and drift fences. During the study, we captured and marked a total of 9 anuran, 4 salamander, 5 lizard, 3 turtle, 16 snake, and 8 small mammal species exclusive of pocket gophers. We found one hatchling three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) and one rough earth snake (Virginia striatula) inside a pocket gopher burrow and mound, respectively. Additionally, we witnessed both eastern racers (Coluber constrictor) and eastern coachwhips (Masticophis flagellum) retreat into pocket gopher burrows, as well as Hurter’s spadefoots (Scaphiopus holbrookii hurterii) burrow into pocket gopher mounds when released. Our results highlight the importance of mammalian burrows, specifically pocket gophers, to other vertebrate associates in grassland ecosystems. Both conservationists and managers need to determine the pocket gopher’s impact on ecosystem health and viability, specifically in natural grasslands, before conservation and/or management strategies are employed.
Connior, M.; Guenther, I.; Risch, Thomas S.; and Trauth, Stanley E.
"Amphibian, Reptile, and Small Mammal Associates of Ozark Pocket Gopher Habitat in Izard County, Arkansas,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 62
, Article 9.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol62/iss1/9