Declining nest success of forest birds in fragmented habitat has been attributed to increased nest predation. Better understanding of this problem and potential solutions to it require information on why nest predators are attracted to habitat edges. Toward this end we investigated habitat use by black rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), an important avian-nest predator in eastern deciduous forests. Thus, fragmentation of forests by humans has created habitat structurally similar to that preferred by rat snakes in their natural habitat, thereby inadvertently increasing contact between the snakes and nesting birds.
Caught emerging snakes from hibernacula and tagged