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Data from: Denning habits of free-ranging dogs reveal preference for human proximity

Citation

Majumder, Sreejani Sen; Paul, Manabi; Sau, Shubhra; Bhadra, Anindita (2017), Data from: Denning habits of free-ranging dogs reveal preference for human proximity, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q802m

Abstract

Dens are crucial in the early development of many mammals, making den site selection an important component of parental care in such species. Resource availability and shelter from predators primarily govern den selection. Species inhabiting human-dominated landscapes typically den away from human disturbance, often shifting dens to avoid humans during the early life of their young. Domesticated dogs have evolved in human proximity over centuries, being bred and reared in human homes for generations. While pets rely on their owners for shelter and care, free-ranging dogs roam uncared, and typically whelp in dens. We conducted a study on 148 free-ranging dog dens in India to understand their denning habits. Distance from resources influenced den choice, but anthropogenic disturbance did not. Dens were found in areas of high human activity, and begging from humans was preferred over scavenging. A study on 15 pregnant females revealed that females actively searched for denning sites, rejecting several intermediate ones before selecting the final den. We propose that the obvious preference of dogs for denning close to humans is a behavioural adaptation that helps them to survive in the urban landscape, in spite of the high human induced mortality during the early life of pups.

Usage Notes

Location

India