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House Construction by the Southern Plains Woodrat (Neotoma Micropus) in Southwestern Oklahoma

Kathleen M. Thies, Monte L. Thies and William Caire
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 116-122
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30055093
Page Count: 7
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House Construction by the Southern Plains Woodrat (Neotoma Micropus) in Southwestern Oklahoma
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Abstract

House construction by Neotoma micropus was examined on a site in Harmon County, Oklahoma. Ten houses were monitored for changes in areal extent, height, and volume between March 1989 and January 1990. Total house volume and volumes of four quadrants of each house were compared. All houses had significant differences in volume among quadrants by season but no patterns could be discerned. Two houses showed a significant difference in total volume among seasons. Female woodrats appeared to be more sedentary because they were recaptured at the same house more frequently and at more houses than males. Relative percent cover contributed by vegetation type near each house was calculated by season, with herbaceous plants providing the most cover, followed by cacti and trees. Significantly more herbaceous plants, sticks, and cattle dung were added to houses in the fall as compared to other seasons. Cacti represented over half of the material used in construction and sticks approximately one quarter, with lesser amounts of herbaceous material and cattle dung. Comparisons of component volumes with field measurements indicated that dead air space provided a significant component of total house volume. Variation in air and soil temperatures were found to be significantly larger than for the internal house temperatures. No significant relationships were found between total house volume and nest temperature.

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