SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Adult rabbits were trapped in the spring on an area of grass and broom in the east of Scotland. They were ear-tagged and a sample of males and females were fitted with radio-collars. These were followed for two months to see whether they used burrows or ground cover for shelter during the day. Rabbits found on the surface were disturbed to see whether they bolted to burrows or stayed on the surface. The population was then re trapped to measure the population density, which was estimated to be 12.6 adults/ha in March, allowing for an apparent trapping bias against older females. One hundred and twelve burrow entrances/ha were counted from random quadrats. Males were more likely to be found on the surface than females, and rabbits that were more often on the surface were less likely to bolt to burrows when disturbed. Even when rabbits did bolt to burrows they frequently left them shortly afterwards and returned to the cover of the broom. Males that were most often found on the surface were lighter in weight than those found in burrows. This was not the case for females.