The Effects Of Some Atmospheric Variables On Roadside Activity In The Cottontail Rabbit

The widespread use of road counts in estimating population trends emphasizes the need for information on factors influencing animal behavior patterns. The present study, conducted on the Atomic Energy Commission Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, attempted .to relate the atmospheric variables of Temperature, Relative Humidity, Vapor Pressure Deficit, and Barometric Pressure to numbers of rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) seen during morning and evening activity peaks along a specially selected 30-mile route. The route was driven twice in each 24-hour period from July 31 to September 4, 1964. Sling psychrometer readings were taken at five permanent points along the route each time it was counted and the averages converted to the appropriate variables by use of the U. S. Department of Commerce Psychrometric Table No. 235. Barometric pressure was obtained at the beginning of each peak activity period from the U. S. Department of Commerce Weather Bureau at Augusta, Georgia. The limited number of observations available from this study suggest that although little if any correlation exists between rabbit activity and either temperature or vapor pressure deficit, a positive correlation does exist between activity patterns and both barometric pressure and relative humidity.

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