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Keywords:

  • dispersal;
  • emigration;
  • sex differences;
  • space use

Abstract

Observational and telemetry data were used in a geographic information system database to document the ontogenetic development of sexually dimorphic patterns of space use among free-living spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta in Kenya. No measures of space use were sexually dimorphic among den-dwelling cubs, nor were sex differences apparent among hyenas that had ceased using dens for shelter until these animals were c. 30 months of age. Significant sex differences emerged late in the third year of life, and persisted throughout the remainder of the life span; males were found farther from the geographic centre of the natal territory than were females, and the mean size of individual 95% utility distributions was larger for males than females. Most dispersal events by radio-collared males were preceded by a series of exploratory excursions outside the natal territory. All collared males dispersed, but no collared females did so. Most dispersing males moved only one or two home ranges away at dispersal, roughly 8–10 km distant from the natal territory, before settling in a new social group.