Habitat Variables Affecting Nesting Success of the American Alligator in Florida

Five aerially estimated habitat variables and nest spacing patterns were used to develop predictive models for evaluating the status of American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) nests on 2 lakes in central Florida. Models developed from data on 146 and 54 nests on Orange Lake and Lake Woodruff, respectively, indicated that none of the habitat variables were useful in predicting nest success. Nests occurred in clumped distributions in some years, but were not clumped in the same areas from year to year. Until more reliable methods for evaluating nest status are available, management programs that utilize alligator eggs should target the most accessible nests.

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