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Urine-Marking and Caching Behavior in the Wolf

Fred H. Harrington
Behaviour
Vol. 76, No. 3/4 (1981), pp. 280-288
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4534102
Page Count: 9
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Urine-Marking and Caching Behavior in the Wolf
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Abstract

The relationship between urine-marking and caching was studied in two captive groups of wolves (Canis lupus). It was found that urine-marking never occurred when a cache was stocked, rarely occurred during later investigations if some food was still present, but usually occurred soon after the cache was emptied. The animal marking an empty cache was often not the one which had exploited it. Once an empty cache was marked it received little further attention, as opposed to caches that were empty but not urine-marked. These results suggest that urine-marking may enhance foraging efficiency in wolves by signalling that a site contains no more edible food despite the presence of lingering food odors. /// Le rapport entre les marques d'urine et les "cachettes" fut étudié en deux groupes de loups (Canis lupus) en captivité. Apperemment, il n'y avait jamais de marques d'urine auprès une "cachette" remplie; elles se trouvaient rarement auprès une "cachette" contenant encore un reste de nourriture mais furent produites peu après qu'une "cachette" fut vidée. L'animal qui marquait une "cachette" vide n'était souvent pas celui qui l'avait exploitée. Lorsqu'une "cachette" vide fut marquée, elle reçut très peu d'attention, contrairement à celles qui furent vides et pas encore marquées. Ces résultats suggèrent que les marques d'urine pourrait augmenter l'efficacité fourrageuse parmi les loups en signalant qu'un endroit marqué ne contient aucune nourriture comestible même s'il y existe encore des odeurs de nourriture.

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