Thursday, August 6, 2009

PS 62-17: Effects of an experimentally clumped resource on den use patterns of male raccoons (Procoyon lotor) at Baskett Wildlife Research Area

James L. Loveall, Morgan E. Wehtje, and Matthew E. Gompper. University of Missouri


The objective of this study is to determine the effects of an experimentally manipulated clumped resource on den use by male raccoons.  Male raccoons typically exhibit solitary foraging strategies and den selection.  Males are thought to be asocial, but may become social depending upon the density and distribution of females in a given area.  Some instances of communal denning have been documented near clumped resource reservoirs in southern latitudes.  Telemetry was used to locate den sites for eight radio-collared male raccoons distributed across two study sites.  Baskett Wildlife Area was divided into an experimental site (North Baskett) containing a centralized food plot, and a control site (South Baskett) without a centralized food plot.  GIS computer software was used to plot, analyze and compare potential differences in den site use between the experimental and control sites. Data was collected 4-5 consecutive days per week over a two-month period between June 1, 2008 and July 31, 2008.  From September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008 dens were located one day per week.

Communal denning among males was more frequent near clumped resources where females tended to aggregate.  Significant overlap of den home range was evident on both North Baskett and South Baskett.