Behaviour and movements of sympatric civet species in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand

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Abstract

Five individuals of four civet species were captured and followed by radiotelemetry in a mosaic of dry tropical forest in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. Observations were made on a fifth, arboreal species which was never captured. Radio-collared civets used overall areas ranging from 3.1 to 17 km2 with average monthly ranges from 0.72 to 5.4 km2. Average monthly ranges, home range centre shifts and activity radii showed a linear increase with weight and size of the individual, both within and between species. Despite individual differences, there were similar behavioural responses to extrinsic seasonal changes. Civets had activity levels of 50–55% and displayed nocturnal activity patterns. The four smallest civets used trees as resting sites extensively while the largest civet, Viuerra zibetha, was always located on the ground. Faecal analysis indicated that civets fed on at least 18 fruiting tree species as well as rodents, insects and crabs. At least one of the fruits found in civet faeces, Cassia fistula, was not eaten by other major frugivores in the area. The civets showed a preference for mixed deciduous and dry evergreen forest over dry deciduous dipterocarp forest, which had a lower abundance of known food items. The role that civets play as seed dispersal agents may help in the maintenance and structuring of tropical forest communities.

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