Journal of Ethology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 153–159 | Cite as

Interspecific responses of wild African carnivores to odour of 3-mercapto-3-methylbutanol, a component of wildcat and leopard urine

  • Peter AppsEmail author
  • Megan Claase
  • Ben Yexley
  • J. Weldon McNutt
Video Article


The scent of 3-mercapto-3-methylbutanol (3-M-3-MB), a volatile component of leopard (Panthera pardus) and domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) urine, released at about 10 ng/s from slow-release dispensers, elicited scent-marking from African civet (Civettictis civetta), small-spotted genet (Genetta genetta) and slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), as well as African wildcat (F. s. cafra). A female leopard was apparently repelled by the scent. The scent-marking and scent-rubbing by species other than African wildcats and leopards were unexpected and have important implications for the design of studies to investigate chemical communication between wild mammals and the use of camera traps to estimate animal numbers. Videos showing the behaviours referred to in this article are available at;;;


Chemical communication Pheromone Mammal Semiochemical Tomcat thiol CAS 34300-94-2 Felis silvestris Panthera pardus 



This work was part of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust’s Bioboundary project, which was set up with funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Running expenses for this work were provided by private donors through Wild Entrust International and Tusk Trust. We are grateful for permission to carry out research in Botswana granted by the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and the President’s Office under research permit number 8/36/4 XXIV (205).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors declared a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10164_2016_503_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botswana Predator Conservation TrustMaunBotswana

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