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Beobachtungen und Experimente zum Futterlernverhalten des Rehs Capreolus capreolus


, : Beobachtungen und Experimente zum Futterlernverhalten des Rehs Capreolus capreolus. Zeitschrift fuer Saeugetierkunde, 433: 171-186

Individual and social learning processes in food choice of roe-deer living in an enclosure were studied. Eight fawns (3 .female. .female., 5 .male. .male.) and 6 adult animals (4 .female. .female., .male..male.) involved in the experiments. After learning to eat a certain food type with particular form-smell-combination, 3 pairs of fawns, 1 adult female and a control-group of 2 adult pairs were tested in a 4-way-choice-experiment: they were confronted with the habitual type and 3 new types differing from the latter in form and/or smell. The animals learned to eat the different food types successively. The new types were usually accepted in the following order: smell known/form unknown, smell and form unknown, form known/smell unknown. Before eating a new type, different kinds of examination followed each other in a fixed sequence. When animals were grouped in pairs the partners behaved differently; only 1 animal learned to eat unknown food types. The hypothesis that this might be role differentiation was supported by a pilot experiment which showed that role changes were possible. The results are considered to be part of a complex system offering maximum new food resources while minimizing the hazard of intoxication.

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