European hares select resting places for providing cover

Neumann, Florian and Schai-Braun, Stephanie and Weber, Darius and Amrhein, Valentin. (2011) European hares select resting places for providing cover. Hystrix, N.S. Vol. 22. pp. 291-299.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6001856

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European hares (Lepus europaeus) are thought to select resting places providing cover, to protect themselves against predators and unfavourable weather conditions. We tested this hypothesis by flushing wild hares from their resting places and by assessing the cover at hare forms. The vegetation at resting places was generally found to be higher than 30 cm, i.e . higher than the approximate height of a hare. As compared to randomly chosen control points, hares showed a preference for cover at their resting places throughout the year. From April to August, all investigated habitat categories, but most often field habitats were used for resting places, and during this season, vegetation providing cover above 30 cm was found in all habitat categories. From September to March, however, resting places were mostly found in forests or in areas between fields, whereas open fields with little or no vegetation were generally avoided as resting sites. Furthermore, we found that flight distances depended on cover value and were lower in dense vegetation, suggesting that hares valued resting places providing cover as a better protection against predators. We suggest that the loss of cover in agricultural landscapes has reduced the availability of resting places for the European hare and has likely contributed to the population decline in intensely used landscapes.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Behavioural Ecology (Amrhein)
UniBasel Contributors:Amrhein, Valentin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Associazione teriologica romana
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:04 Sep 2015 14:31
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 16:13

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