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Homing in the Cotton Rat, Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord

Joan DeBusk and Thomas E. Kennerly, Jr.
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 93, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 149-157
DOI: 10.2307/2424113
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2424113
Page Count: 9
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Homing in the Cotton Rat, Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord
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Abstract

Homing ability of the cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus, was studied near Mountain Creek Lake, Dallas Co., Texas, between June 1971 and February 1972. Cotton rats homed from displacements of 100 m to 1500 m. Homing success decreased with increased distance. Returns were high from displacements up to 300 m. Variation in homing success from greater distances was attributed to differences in habitat at the release site and to individual differences in motivation to return. Cotton rats released in areas that did not provide cover homed more successfully than those released in more typical cotton-rat habitat. Returns of individuals from long distances suggested that homing may be influenced by the strength of the psychological attachment to the home area. It was concluded that cotton rats released at distances up to 300 m were in familiar territory or were close enough to find the home area. Either navigation or simple random wandering could be involved in the ability to home from longer distances, but neither means was adequately demonstrated.

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