Kazuma Watanabe, Nami Kumagai and Masayuki U. Saito

Latrine site selection of raccoon dogs in a hilly area in north-eastern Japan

Abstract We evaluated the environment types of raccoon dog latrine sites in the hilly areas of north-eastern Japan. We conducted a route census in the spring and autumn of 2020 to record the latrine sites and analysed the relationship between the presence or absence of latrine sites and environmental factors, namely, topographic position index (TPI), slope, normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), and vegetation type for each season. To investigate the space use of raccoon dogs, we also conducted camera trapping from July to November 2020 along the spring survey route. We analysed the relationship between the occurrence frequency of raccoon dogs and TPI, slope angle, NDVI, and vegetation type. The analysis showed that latrine sites tended to be located at sites with a high TPI (topography closer to the ridge) in both seasons. However, the occurrence of latrine sites in broadleaf forests was significantly higher in autumn. The frequency of raccoon dogs, based on camera-trap footage, was significantly higher at sites with gentle slopes; although the environment and space used by raccoon dogs at these sites differed. Raccoon dogs possibly select visually and olfactorily conspicuous sites on the ridge as latrine sites to facilitate odour dispersal. In addition, broadleaf forests in autumn are considered important feeding grounds for raccoon dogs, suggesting that the latrine sites were formed near foraging sites.

Doi https://doi.org/10.35513/21658005.2021.2.2

Keywords Carnivore; camera trap; communication; defecation; Nyctereutes procyonoides; topography; vegetation

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