Activity patterns of wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) under semi-freedomconditions, during autumn and winter
Área de conocimiento
Título de la revista
Wildlife Biology in Practice
Número de la revista
Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem
The main objective of this work is to assess the activity biorhythms of the European rabbit, under semi-freedom conditions between September and March. The study was carried out in a property located in the north of the County of Valladolid (Spain). Nine wild adult animals, 2 males and 7 females, were used. They were marked individually with a microchip (AVID®). These animals were lodged in a 0.5 ha. enclosure. It was composed of two areas, one smaller where burrows were located and a bigger area, in which animals had fresh food and water. Both areas were separated by a metallic net provided of two passageways, in which, two microchips readers were placed to register animal activity. Each register indicated date, hour and code of the animal that had gone through the passageway. An activity rate was determined as the number of times that the total of the animals went through all the passageways, per hour of each day of the study. A monthly index of activity was also determined by the average of the daily activity rates during each month. It was observed that wild rabbits present a pronounced twilight and night-time activity, with two activity peaks which coincide with the sunrise and sunset. It was also determined that the activity of the animals in central hours of the day was practically null in both sexes. The activity pattern was changing, gradually, in function of the hour of sunrise and sunset on each month of the study. The activity index increased from September on, reaching a maximum peak during December, and decreased gradually until February when this index increased slightly until the finalization of the study on March. This pattern can be associated with the reproductive rhythms of the wild rabbit in the study area, during this period.