HOME RANGE AND HABITAT SELECTION OF CAVE-DWELLING NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINES (ERETHIZON DORSATUM) IN CENTRAL TEXAS Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Abstract North American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) have expanded their range into central Texas and are now frequent users of caves as den sites. What remains unknown is how caves affect their home range, and their local habitat preferences. This information is important for management decisions on Joint Base San Antonio – Camp Bullis where novel and abundant porcupine scat in caves could jeopardize federally endangered cave-obligate arthropods by allowing for the invasion of less specialized terrestrial species. To better understand porcupine home range and habitat use at Camp Bullis, we trapped four porcupines at cave entrances and fitted them with GPS collars. The 95% home range averaged 71.3 ha for females and measured 420.6 ha for the male. The 50% core habitat averaged 55.4 ha for females and measured 7.4 ha for the male. Porcupines typically stayed near the den-cave trap site except when visiting more diverse mixed forest patches. At the landscape and point levels, individuals selected for forested cover and avoided open areas. At the home range level, individuals selected for bare ground and roads, which were likely used to get from the cave den site to feed at mixed forest patches. Typically solitary, individuals in this study tolerated sharing a cave. Because of the small sample size and single sampling location, this study represents a pilot study and additional research is needed to establish concrete conclusions. Should cave managers need to limit the cave use by porcupines, a cave gate, exclosure, or reduction of forested cover would make caves less desirable.

author list (cited authors)

  • Montalvo, A. E., Lopez, R. R., Parker, I. D., Silvy, N. J., Cooper, S. M., & Feagin, R. A.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM