Factors affecting scent-marking behaviour in Eurasion beaver (Castor fiber)

F. Rosell, B.A. Nolet

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    We tested the hypothesis that a main function of territory marking in Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) is defense of the territory. The results showed that: (1) beaver colonies with close neighbors scent-mark more often than isolated ones; (2) the number of scent markings increased significantly with the number of neighboring territories and individuals, the mean distance to all other territories, duration of territory occupancy and length of wooded banks within the territory; (3) the number of scent markings by a colony was not related to the number of animals in the colony, the distance to nearest neighbors' main resting-site, or age of beaver; (4) the number of scent mounds or scent markings in territories with breeding and nonbreeding beaver did not differ; (5) there was no significant difference in the number of scent markings during the season (16 April-31 August); and (6) some of the scent mounds were concentrated at feeding sites, resting sites, and near trails, but most had no apparent relationship to any of these sites. Therefore we concluded that scent marking apparently plays an important role in territory defense of the Eurasian braver. [KEYWORDS: beaver; Castor fiber; scent communication; scent mound; scent marking; radiotelemetry; territorial behavior; Netherlands]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)673-689
    JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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