Society of African Journal Editors

African Journal of Wildlife Research

Habitat selection and small mammal prey availability of the gaboon adder in Zululand (KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa

Authors: M.R. Perrin and T. Bodbijl

Journal: African Journal of Wildlife Research

In Zululand, the gaboon adder (<i>Bitis gabonica gabonica</i>) requires a forest-thicket-grassland mosaic that enables foraging along forest margins and adjacent grasslands. Since it faces a decline in prime habitat owing to a numerically and spatially increasing human population, habitat conservation is essential. This can be achieved by maintaining forest-thicket-grassland mosaics, and by linking these, through migration corridors, to existing natural habitat. Small mammals (&lt;i&gt;Otomys&lt;/i&gt; spp. and <i>Aethomys chrysophilus</i>) are the major prey of gaboon adders and are common in its preferred habitat. Seasonal variation in relative small mammal abundance was correlated temporally with the autumnal breeding season following rains.