Peromyscus burrow structure, burrow use, and food storage

Spain, Deborah Hontas, Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Cranford, J. A., Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Wilbur, Henry, Department of Biology, University of Virginia
Jaeger, Robert G., Department of Biology, University of Virginia

Peromyscus leucopus burrow structure, habitat spatial relationships, burrow types, caching behavior and population demography were studied in two woodlots at Mountain Lake Biological Station. Populations were sampled biweekly to examine demographic structure and residency patterns. At low population densities, P. leucopus and P. maniculatus were found to prefer ground burrows over tree cavities. One to fifteen burrows were utilized by an individual mouse within its home range. Males used 3.8 and females used 5.2 burrows. Of the 233 burrows located, 33 percent were used for nesting and were shared in summer and winter. Two structurally distinct burrow types were found; complex burrows were used for nesting and as retreats, simple burrows were primarily retreats. Microhabitat parameters associated with burrow placement were fallen log size and density, overstory tree size and distance, woody stem density, low ground cover, and litter depth. Food caches were a mean distance of 202cm from burrow entrances and no caches were found in burrows. Caches were primarily located under leaf litter or adjacent to surface roots and would have required several foraging trips to complete.

MS (Master of Science)
mouse rodents , nesting retreats, larders , microhabitat parameters
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