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The foraging behaviour of the Black rat (Rattus rattus) within Australian macadamia orchards

By David Elmouttie, Kerrilee Horskins and John Wilson


The black rat (Rattus rattus) has been shown to be the primary species responsible for causing significant crop losses within the Australian macadamia industry. This species success within macadamia orchards is directly related to the flexibility expressed in its foraging behaviour. In this paper a conceptual foraging model is presented which proposes that the utilisation of resources by rodents within various components of the system is related not only to their relative abundance, but also to predator avoidance behaviour. Nut removal from high predation risk habitats during periods of low resource abundance in low risk compartments of the system is considered an essential behaviour that allows high rodent densities to be maintained throughout the year

Topics: 070300 CROP AND PASTURE PRODUCTION, rodent, foraging, nut removal, macadamia, habitat utilisation, Rattus rattus
Publisher: Southern Cross Journals
Year: 2009
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