Home Range Dynamics and Den Use of Nine-banded Armadillos on Cumberland Island, Georgia

We implanted radio transmitters in 11 armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and monitored them seasonally from July 1987 through May 1988. Six individuals survived (S) the entire study: 5 died (D) between 1-4 months post-implantatin. Home range sizes for S individuals did not differ significantly between sexes (N=6; 3 males and 3 females). Mean overall home range size was significantly smaller for S compared to D armadillos for both the minimum convex polygon (MCP) (S=6.55 ha, D = 11.55 ha; F = 12.49, df=1, P <0.002) and adaptive kernel (AK) (S=9.47 ha, D = 18.81 ha; F = 11.07, df=1, P=0.003) methods. Mean home range sizes for S armadillos differed among seasons for both the MCP (summer =5.34 ha, fall =5.23 ha, winter = 1.65 ha, spring =3.95 ha; F =6.58, df=3, P <0.003) and AK (summer = 10.26 ha, fall =8.75 ha, winter =3.70 ha, spring =6.02 ha; F =5.29, df=3, P<0.008) methods. The S armadillos were located at dens significantly (F = 19.46, df =1, P <0.001) more frequently in winter (64.7%) compared to summer (29.7%), and they used significantly (F =9.28, df = 1, P <0.001) fewer different dens in winter (0.24 dens/day) compared to summer (0.66 dens/day). The average number of different dens used by the S individuals during our entire study was 10.9. Dens were typically in burrows, but aboveground nests were also used. About 75% of all dens were under saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).

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