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Influence of Food Distribution and Predation Pressure on Spacing Behavior in Palm Civets

Anup R. Joshi, James L. David Smith and Francesca J. Cuthbert
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 76, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 1205-1212
DOI: 10.2307/1382613
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1382613
Page Count: 8
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Influence of Food Distribution and Predation Pressure on Spacing Behavior in Palm Civets
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Abstract

The common palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, was studied in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal, to determine daily and seasonal movements in relation to availability of food and predation pressure. Five adult animals (two females and three males) were captured and fitted with radiocollars and located every other day. Each animal was followed for 12 consecutive h/month. Palm civets were strictly nocturnal; activity began at ca. 1800 h and ended at ca. 0400 h. Animals were more active on dark nights than on bright, moonlit nights and typically rested during the day in the crown of vine-covered trees. Seeds of fruits were found in 84.5% of 193 scats of palm civets that were collected December 1989 to June 1990. In April, when ripe fruits were not readily available, a shift in diet from fruits to vertebrate and invertebrate prey occurred. Palm civets also fed on the nectar of Bombax ceiba and sap from stems of Vallaris solanacea. Home-range sizes varied inversely with the amount of food available. A high degree of home-range overlap indicated that individuals were not territorial. Documented predation and exclusive nocturnal activity suggest that palm civets are vulnerable to predation by large carnivores in the park. Strong predation pressure and high temporal and spatial variation in availability of food resources may account for the apparent absence of territorial behavior of palm civets in this population.

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