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Burrow use and ranging behaviour of the southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) in the Murraylands, South Australia

  • G. R. Finlayson (a1), G. A. Shimmin (a2) (a3), P. D. Temple-Smith (a1), K. A. Handasyde (a1) and D. A. Taggart (a2) (a4)...

Abstract

This study investigated burrow use and ranging behaviour in the southern hairy-nosed wombat Lasiorhinus latifrons in semi-arid South Australia. Sixteen adult wombats were fitted with radio transmitters and monitored monthly from July 2001 to February 2002. Wombats generally used between one and five warrens, preferred large warrens with a greater number of entrances and showed a preference for one or two warrens. Across the study period there was no apparent change in burrows used within warrens. Radio-tracking indicated that animals spent very little time above ground (26% of 1115 night-time fixes), centred their activity around their preferred warrens, and moved, on average, 99 m/h and 221 m/night. Mean home-range size, estimated using minimum convex polygons and the harmonic mean method from location data, obtained through triangulation, and daytime warren fixes, ranged from 1.3 to 4.8 ha. Home-range size was similar between males and females and home ranges overlapped substantially. The data highlight the importance of burrows to southern hairy-nosed wombats in shaping their home ranges. It seems likely that the use of burrows and a specialized diet are important energy saving strategies for this species in such unpredictable regions of South Australia.

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All correspondence to: Graeme Finlayson, School of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Adelaide, South Australia, 5055, Australia. E-mail: graemeroy@iprimus.com.au

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