Behavioral Aspects of Captive Alpine Musk Deer during Non-mating Season: Gender Differences and Monthly Patterns

  • Meng, Xiuxiang (College of Life and Environment Sciences, Minzu University of China) ;
  • Zhao, Changjie (College of Life and Environment Sciences, Minzu University of China) ;
  • Hui, Cenyi (College of Life and Environment Sciences, Minzu University of China) ;
  • Luan, Xiaofeng (College of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University)
  • Received : 2010.11.24
  • Accepted : 2011.03.07
  • Published : 2011.05.01


The objective of the present study was to determine gender-related and month-related behavioral differences in captive alpine musk deer. The study was conducted at Xinglongshan Musk Deer Farm (XMDF) of Xinglongshan National Nature Reserve in Gansu Province of western China. The integrated method of focal sampling and all occurrence recording was utilized to quantify the behavioural patterns of 45 captive alpine musk deer (Moschus sifanicus) during non-mating season (from August $1^{st}$ to October $25^{th}$), and the behavioural durations of 12 behavioural patterns such as standing-gazing were recorded. The behavioural modes were compared to explore the potential differences between females and males, and the monthly behavioural modes for males and females were analyzed. Our results showed that the captive female deer in XMDF could compensate the energy lost in pregnancy, parturition and lactation through improving its ingestive efficiency. In order to be more sensitive to the changing environment, females expressed more standing-gazing (SG: $67.38{\pm}12.69\;s$) and moving (MO; $27.41{\pm}5.02\;s$), but less bedding (BE: $42.32{\pm}11.35\;s$) than male deer (SG: $56.43{\pm}9.19\;s$; MO: $19.23{\pm}4.64\;s$; BE: $96.14{\pm}15.71\;s$). Furthermore, females perform more affinitive interaction (AI: $7.89{\pm}4.81\;s$) but less ano-genital sniffing (AS: $0.24{\pm}0.13\;s$) and agonistic behaviour (CI: $0.57{\pm}0.26\;s$) than males (AI: $1.45{\pm}1.09\;s$; AS: $0.45{\pm}0.29\;s$; CI: $1.42{\pm}0.67\;s$). The females expressed ingestion more in October ($132.31{\pm}27.47\;s$) than in August ($28.80{\pm}18.44\;s$) and September ($45.1{\pm}10.84\;s$), and the males performed Ano-genital sniffing (AS: $1.79{\pm}1.14\;s$) and self-directed behaviour (SD: $12.61{\pm}5.03\;s$) significantly more in October than in August (AS: 0 s; SD: $0.62{\pm}0.17\;s$) and September (AS: $0.02{\pm}0.01\;s$; SD: $0.17{\pm}0.15\;s$). Moreover, male musk deer increased the intension of ano-genital sniffing, agonistic behaviour and tail rubbing behaviour, which were related to sexual activities.


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