The smell of dead rabbits

Weird science: Spanish researchers have determined that rabbits can differentiate between the poop of predators that have eaten rabbits and those that haven't. From New Scientist:

The researchers ran an experiment on three plots of land spread out across the Spanish countryside. One plot was sprayed daily with the smelly essence extracted from the scat of ferrets on a beef-based diet. Another plot was sprayed with the scat odour from ferrets on a rabbit-based diet. The third was sprayed with water as a control. Every few days, the team counted the rabbit pellets left behind on the plots and used the number as an indicator of how often rabbits were visiting the plots to feed.

There were fewer pellets in the plots sprayed with rabbit-based scat odour than in those sprayed with the beef-based scat odour, suggesting the rabbits were avoiding places where it appeared other rabbits were being eaten.

I assume this means that some researcher had to search around in a field every day to count rabbit pellets.

The journal article: Acta Ethologica
     Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 13, 2018
     Category: Animals | Science | Excrement





Comments
I wanted to read the published research for this interesting field experiment. However, I was not going to pay $40.00 (U.S.) for a copy. I noted I can rented the article as well. Nope. I will simply have to wait for someone to offer me a copy and then enjoy reading the study.

(Sidebar: Often field studies such as this rabbit study will seed feeding areas. This makes it a tad easier to locate and count rabbit poopy balls.)

agent j
Posted by agent j in Toronto, ON Canada on 10/13/18 at 08:54 AM
There's a Spanish researcher who had to sell a truckload of ferrets after the experiment. Do ferret coats exist? Or was he counting on a new ferret fad among pet owners?
Posted by Yudith on 10/13/18 at 07:19 PM
I assume this is for a repellent. It does seem that if you kill one mosquito, hundreds come to the funeral!
Posted by BMN on 10/14/18 at 04:10 PM









Rules for posting: 1) No spam. 2) Don't be a jerk.