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Food caching behavior of the Eurasian beaver in northern Europe

Busher, Peter E. and Mayer, Martin and Ulevicius, Alius and Samus, Arunas and Hartman, Göran and Rosell, Frank (2020). Food caching behavior of the Eurasian beaver in northern Europe. Wildlife Biology. 2020 , wlb.00734
[Research article]

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Abstract

Food storage (caching, hoarding), which is observed in many species of animals, increases food availability during times of food insecurity. Both species of beaver (Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber, and the North American beaver, C. canadensis) living at northern latitudes where food may be scarce during winter are larder-hoarders, constructing a food cache of branches of woody species during autumn. We studied the food caching behavior of the Eurasian beaver in three northern European countries (Sweden, Norway, Lithuania) to provide additional insight into this important behavior. Thirty-seven of forty-seven (79%) active family groups had food caches by mid-November and 41 of 47 (87%) had caches by December. Water depth of caches ranged from 1 to 2.3 m and depths at caches in Sweden were significantly deeper than in either Norway or Lithuania. Construction of caches began as early as late September (week 39/40) in Sweden and Lithuania and by mid-October (week 42) in Norway. We observed plasticity in timing of cache initiation but the majority of active sites in all areas had food caches by the beginning of November (week 45). Declining air temperature and mean minimum temperatures of 0 degrees C or below were associated with cache initiation. Caches in Lithuania were larger than in Sweden and Norway, which may be associated with colder winter temperatures. We did not find any relationship between family size or length of territory occupancy and cache size at our Norway sites where population demographics were available. Our results are generally consistent with other studies of food caching behavior in both species and suggest general similarities as well as behavioral plasticity in this important evolutionary strategy.

Authors/Creators:Busher, Peter E. and Mayer, Martin and Ulevicius, Alius and Samus, Arunas and Hartman, Göran and Rosell, Frank
Title:Food caching behavior of the Eurasian beaver in northern Europe
Series Name/Journal:Wildlife Biology
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:2020
Article number:wlb.00734
Number of Pages:10
Publisher:WILDLIFE BIOLOGY
ISSN:0909-6396
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
Keywords:Castor fiber, environmental stimuli, Eurasian beaver, food cache
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110120
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110120
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.2981/wlb.00734
Web of Science (WoS)000595600400017
ID Code:21755
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Jan 2021 12:03
Metadata Last Modified:26 Jan 2021 12:11

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