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Artificial illumination reduces bait-take by small rainforest mammals

By A. J. Bengsen, L. K. P. Leung, S. J. Lapidge, I. J. Gordon

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Abstract

Small mammals often moderate their foraging behaviour in response to cues indicating a high local predation risk. We assessed the ability of cues associated with a high predation risk to reduce the consumption of bait by non-target small mammal species in a tropical rainforest, without inhibiting bait-take by feral pigs (Sus scrofa). The illumination of feeding stations with a low power light source caused small mammals to reduce their foraging intensity on sunflower seeds mixed through sand by 25% (P<0.001) and on unprocessed corn-based feral pig bait by 80% (P<0.001). Illumination also reduced the intensity with which small mammals fed on commercially manufactured baits (odds ratio=6.17, P=0.009). Illumination did not cause pigs to reduce their intake of corn bait (P=0.43). Neither pig nor dingo (Canis lupus dingo) vocalisations had any detectable effect on the foraging intensity of small mammals (P>0.05 for all treatments). We conclude that site illumination was an effective method of selectively deterring small mammals from consuming feral pig baits in our study region, but had no effect on consumption of those baits by pigs.

Date 2010
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 127
Issue 1/2
Pages 66-72
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.08.006
Language English
Author Address School of Animal Studies, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland 4343, Australia. andrew.bengsen@uqconnect.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal ecology
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Artificial light
  5. Bait
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Corn
  10. Feeding
  11. Feral animals
  12. Field crops
  13. Flowers
  14. Foraging
  15. Grasses
  16. Intake
  17. Maize
  18. Mammals
  19. Meat animals
  20. Methodologies
  21. Methods
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. Pigs
  24. Plants
  25. predation
  26. rain forests
  27. seeds
  28. Swine
  29. Techniques
  30. Wolves
  31. Zoology
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed