Ranging behaviour and btb infections
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
- Vol 94, Iss 3-4 , Oct 2005,
Using radio-telemetry and direct observation, we monitored the ranging and
foraging behaviour, habitat use and sett use of eight same-sex pairs of badgers.
Members of each pair were of the same age-class and were members of the
same social group, but differed with respect to disease status: one
member of each pair was shown by culture tests to be infected with btb, while the other was uninfected. Tuberculous
badgers had home ranges that were about 50% larger on average than those of
uninfected badgers, and they ranged over a greater proportion of their own
territory. In addition, the proportion of an individual's home range that
extended into neighbouring territories was about four times larger in
tuberculous than in uninfected badgers; and tuberculous badgers foraged, on
average, 65% further away from their own main sett than did uninfected animals.
The two classes of animals did not differ in patterns of habitat use or sett
use. We conclude that the ranging behaviour of tb-infected badgers
differs in important respects from that of uninfected animals and discuss the
relevance of this to the problem of btb in cattle and badgers.
Badger; Bovine tuberculosis; Foraging behaviour;
Host behaviour; Ranging behaviour; Disease transmission