Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics
Author(s): Descovich, Kristin
Lisle, Allan
Johnston, Stephen
Nicolson, Vere
Phillips, Clive
Contact Email:
Keywords: Wombat, olfactory, faeces, scent, captivity, communication, zoo, captivity, welfare, behaviour, group
Issue Date: Apr-2012
Date Deposited: 22-Apr-2014
Citation: Descovich K, Lisle A, Johnston S, Nicolson V & Phillips C (2012) Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 138 (1-2), pp. 110-117.
Abstract: The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) appears to use scent marking, including defaecation, for social communication in the wild. This premise assumes that the receiver wombat is able to distinguish between faeces from different sources. To examine this theory, four types of faeces (male wombat, female wombat, dingo and a plastic control) were placed into the enclosures of 12 captive wombats. Behaviour, inter-individual distance and enclosure use were recorded during the period of placement, as well as the period before and the period after. When faeces were present, the wombats used concealed locations more often than other periods (mean %: pre-treatment: 71.3, treatment: 75.6, post-treatment: 72.7; P < 0.05). During the same period they also reduced grazing (mean min/period: pre- treatment: 15.8, treatment: 6.9, post- treatment: 13.1; P = 0.0002) and walking 2 activity (mean min/period: pre- treatment: 85.2, treatment: 66.9, post- treatment: 78.2; P = 0.01), indicating an increased perception of risk. Wombats approached the dingo faeces 5.6 times per treatment period, which was greater than for the control (3.0; P = 0.004) or female wombat faeces (3.7; P = 0.049). They also avoided other wombats most when male wombat faeces were present (8.3 retreats/period) compared to the control (4.5; P = 0.02), or female wombat (4.3; P = 0.01). There was a residual effect of increased wombat avoidance the period after presentation of dingo faeces (9.6; P ≤ 0.05). It is concluded that the southern hairy-nosed wombat can differentiate between faeces from different species and sex of conspecifics, and that predator faeces and those from male conspecifics increase wombat avoidance behaviour either during or after presentation.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.01.017
Rights: Published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science by Elsevier; Elsevier believes that individual authors should be able to distribute their accepted author manuscripts for their personal voluntary needs and interests, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository, e-mailing to colleagues. The Elsevier Policy is as follows: Authors retain the right to use the accepted author manuscript for personal use, internal institutional use and for permitted scholarly posting provided that these are not for purposes of commercial use or systematic distribution. An "accepted author manuscript" is the author’s version of the manuscript of an article that has been accepted for publication and which may include any author-incorporated changes suggested through the processes of submission processing, peer review, and editor-author communications.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Descovich_Olfactory_PrePub.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version669.24 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.