Dominant Badgers and Feeding
Canadian Journal of Zoology, January 2001, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 165-170(6)
Differences in key habitat
use between dominant and subordinate animals: intraterritorial
dominance payoffs in Eurasian badgers?
Group-living territorial animals such as the Eurasian badger face the problem of intragroup competition.
Badgers are asymmetric in their access to reproduction (dominant
individuals being the ones that reproduce), but little information
exists about the extent of intragroup trophic competition.
studied badgers' use of a key trophic resource (the European rabbit), as well as the use of the habitat
where this resource is located (key habitat, Mediterranean
scrubland) by a low-density group-living population of badgers in
Coto del Rey, Doņana, southwestern Spain. During 19951996, there
was a 2.2-fold reduction of rabbit density, which was reflected in a
significant diminution of rabbit use; despite this, rabbits
continued to be the most used trophic resource. Notwithstanding the
decrease in rabbit density, subordinate badgers reduced their use of
the key habitat, while dominant badgers increased it. These results
suggest that in Coto del Rey, badger groups exhibit a fully despotic
system, with dominance by some individuals not only in access to
reproduction, but also in access to food through unequal use of the
key habitat that contains it.