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African Zoology

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Possible optimal foraging for Brants’s whistling rats by caracals in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

H.I.A.S. Melville, J. du P. Bothma

Abstract


Optimal foraging in caracals has never been substantiated. However, several authors have found that these predators select foraging paths to minimize distances between areas of high prey availability. The foraging pattern used by a predator relative to a common prey animal can give an insight into the optimality of hunting behaviour. Foraging behaviour in caracals relative to the dispersion of Brants’s whistling rat colonies was investigated in the southern Kalahari. We show that foraging paths used by caracal during the hot season increase the likelihood of encountering colonies, suggesting that optimal foraging occurs, but that in the cold season foraging appears to be random.

Keywords: caracal, optimal foraging, Brants’s whistling rat, Kalahari




http://dx.doi.org/10.3377/1562-7020(2006)41[134:POFFBW]2.0.CO;2
AJOL African Journals Online