Predator avoidance, feeding and habitat use in the red-necked pademelon, Thylogale thetis, at rainforest edges

Food acquisition and predator avoidance are principal, but often conflicting, components of the survival strategies of most animals. We investigated the behaviour of red-necked pademelons, Thylogale thetis, (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) in pasture adjacent to rainforest edges in eastern Australia, by testing the relationships among age and sex of individuals, time of day, season, site, distance from cover (forest edge), feeding, vigilance and group size. Foraging behaviour was responsive to changes in predation risk. Feeding and vigilance activities accounted for most of the activity budget of foraging pademelons, and were negatively correlated. Reproductive females and individuals in smaller groups foraged closer to forest edges, were more vigilant and spent less time feeding. Vigilance decreased with increasing group size even after controlling for other confounding factors. Increased predation risks of feeding further from forest cover were offset by the pademelons doing so only if their group size was large, so that the time allocated to vigilance did not increase.

Author Wahungu, G. M., Catterall, C. P. and Olsen, M. F.
Year 2001
Secondary title Australian Journal of Zoology
Volume 49
Number 1
Pages 45-58
Region QLD