Domestic dogs are typically prohibited from National Parks and other wildlife reserves partly because managers fear that dog faeces will deter native small mammals from their normal behaviours. We tested this notion for two native small mammals in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, near Sydney Australia by comparing the first-night trap success of traps with experimental addition of domestic dog faeces placed near the trap entrance to control traps. Bush Rats Rattus fuscipes, the most abundant species captured, showed no aversion to dog faecal odours across 20 sampled sites and entered control and dog-scented traps equally (n=73 captures). Also, the presence of dog faeces had no association with the body size or sex of captured animals. This lack of response may be because rats do not identify dog scats as a cue to predation risk or because dog scats are an unreliable cue to predation hazards. Either way, faeces from domestic dogs dropped in native habitats appear unlikely to deter small native fauna due to predator avoidance behaviours. Further research is needed to resolve other impacts of dog scats, such as disease transfer to native mammal populations.
Do native Australian small mammals avoid faeces of domestic dogs? Responses of Rattus fuscipes and Antechinus stuartii
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Peter Banks, K. Nelika, A. Hughes, Tania Rose; Do native Australian small mammals avoid faeces of domestic dogs? Responses of Rattus fuscipes and Antechinus stuartii. Australian Zoologist 1 October 2003; 32 (3): 406–409. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2002.018
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