Activity rhythms, movements and patterns of sett use by badgers, Meles meles, in a Mediterranean woodland
Rosalino LM., Macdonald DW., Santos-Reis M.
Activity rhythms and movement patterns of Eurasian badgers (Meles meles Linnaeus, 1758) inhabiting a cork oak woodland in SW Portugal are described. Twenty months of radio-tracking data for six individuals are presented. Badgers showed crepuscular or nocturnal activity, generally starting after sunset and ending before sunrise, being active on average for 8.26 hours per day. There was some seasonal variation in these parameters, but there was no evidence of any effect due to sex or moonlight. Nevertheless, wind speed seems to be associated with wide-ranging movements. No significant correlation was found between the onset of activity and sunset or between cessation of activity and sunrise. On average, badgers travelled 4378 m per night. Males usually had more extensive movements than did females, probably because maternal behaviour restricted female ranging. The mean distance between setts used on consecutive days was 295 m, and differed seasonally, being greater in spring 2000/2001 and summer 2000. Badgers inhabiting the cork oak woodland of our study area revealed lower sett fidelity than reported for their northern counterparts, especially those of lowland England. Only on 36% of occasions did they come back to sleep in the same sett, with females returning more often to the same den. The mean number of consecutive days spent in a sett was higher in spring and lower in summer. © Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle.