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African Zoology

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Winter activity of bat-eared foxes Otocyon megalotis on the Cape West coast

Sarita Lourens, J.A.J. Nel

Abstract


Diurnal activity budgets of bat-eared foxes Otocyon megalotis in winter (June) at the Postberg Nature Reserve, West Coast National Park, were analysed to determine the influence of environmental factors on their activity. Abiotic factors such as effective temperature, wind speed, cloud cover and rainfall have an effect on prey availability and thermoregulation of the foxes and therefore affect their activity rhythm. Low effective temperature and high wind speed result in more resting and less foraging by foxes. The reverse applies at high effective temperature and low wind speed. No foraging occurred during rain, and only for short periods when the sun shone on overcast days. With the start of pair formation in June–July allogrooming, which was not influenced by abiotic factors, increased. Foxes resumed activity from the same resting sites each day.



AJOL African Journals Online