Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 348584
Title No effects of dominance rank or sex on spatial behaviour of rabbits
Author(s) Dekker, J.J.A.; Groeneveld, M.; Wieren, S.E. van
Source Lutra 49 (2006)1. - ISSN 0024-7634 - p. 59 - 66.
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2006
Keyword(s) konijnen - oryctolagus cuniculus - dominantie - sociale dominantie - diergedrag - rangordening - geslacht (sex) - actieradius - habitats - rabbits - dominance - social dominance - animal behaviour - ranking - sex - operating range
Categories Mammalia
Abstract The home range is an important measure of the spatial behaviour of animals. In rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus), spatial behaviour may be affected by social rank and sex. Subdominant animals are expected to have a larger home range and to forage farther from the burrow than dominant animals. Females are expected to have a smaller home range than males. To test these hypotheses, we determined home range size and distance to the burrow during foraging within a low density, semi-natural rabbit population in the Netherlands, using daytime observations of marked individuals. Individual median distance to the nearest burrow during foraging ranged from 3 to 16 m. Home range varied between 0.01 and 0.43 ha, which is the smallest home range area reported for rabbits in Europe. We found no difference in home range or foraging distance between males or females, or between dominant and subdominant animals. We postulate that this is caused by an interaction of two factors: low animal density and high availability of high quality food. This meant that there was no need to compete for best or safest foraging locations, and males did not need to protect females in their group against other males. This is also our explanation as to why the home ranges in our study are the smallest recorded.
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