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Temperature and humidity in badger setts

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Journal

Mammal Review, Volume 33, Numbers 3-4, September 2003, pp. 308-313(6) - Blackwell Publishing

Authors

MOORE J.A.H.; ROPER T.J. from the University of Sussex

Abstract

  1. Temperature and relative humidity were measured within 12 badger Meles meles setts over periods ranging from 24 hours to 1 year.

  2. Relative humidity was 100% within all setts at all times of year. Mean daily, monthly and annual within-sett temperature ranges were 0.37C, 1.5C and 10.7C, respectively, and were significantly less than the corresponding ambient temperature ranges of 8.9C, 19.0C and 24.1C.

  3. There was no evidence that the temperature regime of main setts differed from that of outlier setts. Within a single large main sett, temperatures taken simultaneously at different sampling points differed by up to 2.5C. The temperature of nest chambers that were occupied by a badger was, on average, 2.4C higher than in unoccupied chambers.

  4. We conclude that: (i) variation in within-sett temperature and humidity is not sufficient to explain the complex way in which badgers use the setts available to them; and (ii) the environmental conditions within badger setts are such as would be expected to favour the survival of bovine tuberculosis Mycobacterium bovis bacilli.

Keywords

bovine tuberculosis; burrow; environment; mammal; microclimate; Mycobacterium bovis

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