Homeward paths of displaced juvenile alligators as determined by radiotelemetry
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To test their ability to home without searching or wandering, 19 juvenile alligators were radiotracked after displacement to areas 1–10 home range diameters beyond their areas of familiarity. Movement rates varied inversely with vegetation density, and in some cases habitat barriers appeared to deflect an alligator's homeward path. However, failures to home occurred only in those cases where major habitat barriers separated an alligator from its home site. In all other cases the alligators headed directly homeward; at least 10 of these completed their homeward journeys. The orienting ability of the alligators was neither dependent on the conditions under which they were displaced, nor the environmental conditions prevailing after release. These observations support the hypothesis that alligators possess a true navigational ability.
KeywordsHome Range Movement Rate Vegetation Density Range Diameter Home Site
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