Den-site Selection of Indian Porcupine and its Physical Characteristics in Central India Landscape

Farah Akram, Orus Ilyas

Abstract


Indian Crested Porcupine (Hystrix indica) dens were monitored in Pench Tiger Reserve, M.P., between December 2013 and June 2014 to determine the physical characteristics and factors/variables that help to select the den site. Fine-scale denning habitat selection was studied by comparing field measured characteristics/parameters of den sites with its random sites. The analysis of these parameters of den was done by Principal Component Analysis & logistic regression models. Very little published information on denning ecology of porcupine is available. Two types of den were identified in the study area, rock cavity den (n= 22) and excavated den (n= 5); however there was no significant difference in the dimensions of these two types of den. Overall the average height and width of entrances were 71.11cm  (± 5.63) and 60.22 cm (± 4.9) respectively, with 2.5 cm (± .33) entrance openings. The depth of den is like a tunnel and entrance was covered with quills, faecal matters, antlers or bones of other mammals. Mostly dens were made on mid-steep slopes facing the northeast direction. PCA result shows that the selection of den site of porcupine is more likely to be a high rocky area with medium dense ground cover such as grass, herbs with high seedling species and lower tree density. Also porcupines prefer the den site near the water bodies. Further, logistic regression models using these as candidate variables identified proximity to rocks and herb density.

Keywords


Hystrix indica; Principal Component Analysis; Den Ecology; Porcupine Habitat.

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