The role and origin of open ground spots for large carnivores, wild ungulates and other wildlife

In snowless period spots with open sand, peat or other ground types are outstanding elements in the habitat structure in  forested areas such as Belarus, and many mammal species tend to use them for territorial marking.  Among these mammal species first of all it may be mentioned red deer, bison, wolf and lynx.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Such an open ground spot usually originates by three different ways. First, they appear, while red deer, bison or elk  trample terrestrial vegetation for grooming purpose to get fewer mosquitos and flies there. Second, burrowing by badger or red fox in sandy or peat spots creates open ground spots, too. Third, open ground spots appear, where wild boars dig a lot for feeding purpose. The more open ground is in a spot, the more often red deer, bison, elk and wild boars come there for grooming and resting with markedly fewer abundance of mosquitos and flies that attributed to open grounds. Every such a visit these wild ungulates trample and dig more there, and the open ground spot gets larger.

Also, by digging and scent marking wild ungulates leave a lot of their smell in such spots, and this prey species smell gradually accumulates there, it gets stronger and diverse.  Besides wild ungulates, hares visit frequently open grounds for grooming, too.

There is no doubts, these visually outstanding ground spots with their strong smelling of prey attract carnivores as places, where possible prey can stay. At the same time, carnivores use these spots for between-carnivore interference actions, first of all, tensive marking as outstanding elements in the habitat structure  and where there are many prey. Finally, sand and other open ground spots become  sites with a high activity of mammals.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

f59a8919web

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.