Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Bed site selection of red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) in a tropical seasonal forest

  • 255 Accesses

  • 10 Citations


The selection of bedding sites is important for the ecology of ruminants, but has mainly been described for temperate species. Here we assessed the bed site selection of two Southeast Asian tropical deer, red muntjac and sambar, in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. We surveyed transects weekly for 10 weeks each in 2003 and 2004 to locate bed sites, and compared the slope, aspect, and forest canopy cover of bed site locations between the two species and with available habitat. As with most temperate deer, muntjac and sambar both avoided sites with low levels of cover for their bed site locations; this could be for concealment or thermoregulation. Sambar also selected flatter sites than would be expected by the availability of topographic slopes; this could be to reduce the energy associated with getting to and from bed sites, or to increase long-range visibility from sites. Muntjac and sambar differed in their choice of aspects for bed sites; muntjac disproportionately chose west-facing areas, while sambar chose east-facing locations. This could represent a strategy by which one species avoids the other, or else differential resource requirements between the two species.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Alldredge AW, Deblinger RD, Peterson J (1991) Birth and fawn bed site selection by pronghorns in a sagebrush-steppe community. J Wildl Manage 55:222–227. doi:10.2307/3809143

  2. Armstrong E, Euler D, Racey G (1983) Winter bed-site selection by white-tailed deer in central Ontario. J Wildl Manage 47:880–884. doi:10.2307/3808632

  3. Barrette C (1977) Some aspects of the behaviour of muntjacs in Wilpattu National Park. Mammalia 41:1–34

  4. Byers CR, Steinhorst RK, Krausman PR (1984) Clarification of a technique for analysis of utilization-availability data. J Wildl Manage 48:1050–1053. doi:10.2307/3801467

  5. Canon SK, Bryant FC (1997) Bed-site characteristics of pronghorn fawns. J Wildl Manage 61:1134–1141. doi:10.2307/3802111

  6. Cederlund G (1989) Activity patterns in moose and roe deer in a north boreal forest. Holarct Ecol 12:39–45

  7. Chen HP, Li F, Luo LY, Wang H, Ma JZ, Li F (1999) Winter bed-site selection by red deer Cervus elaphus xanthopygus and roe deer Capreolus capreolus bedfordi in forests of northeastern China. Acta Theriol (Warsz) 44:195–206

  8. Corbet GE, Hill JE (1992) The mammals of the Indomalayan region. Oxford University Press, Oxford

  9. Gerlach TP, Vaughan MR (1991) Mule deer fawn bed site selection on the pinon canyon maneuver site, Colorado. Southwest Nat 36:255–258. doi:10.2307/3671933

  10. Germaine SS, Germaine HL, Boe SR (2004) Characteristics of mule deer day-bed and forage sites in current-condition and restoration-treated ponderosa pine forest. Wildl Soc Bull 32:554–564. doi:10.2193/0091-7648(2004)32[554:COMDDA]2.0.CO;2

  11. Hjeljord O, Hovik N, Pedersen HB (1990) Choice of feeding sites by moose during summer, the influence of forest structure and plant phenology. Holarct Ecol 13:281–292

  12. Jeppesen JL (1989) Activity patterns of free-ranging roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) at Kalo. Dan Rev Game Biol 13:1–32

  13. Jiang GS, Zhang MH, Ma JZ (2007) Effects of human disturbance on movement, foraging and bed selection in red deer Cervus elaphus xanthopygus from the Wandashan Mountains, northeastern China. Acta Theriol (Warsz) 52:435–446

  14. Kanjanavanit O (2004) The mammal tracks of Thailand, 2nd edn. The Green World Foundation, Bangkok

  15. Kitamura S et al (2002) Interactions between fleshy fruits and frugivores in a tropical seasonal forest in Thailand. Oecologia 133:559–572. doi:10.1007/s00442-002-1073-7

  16. Lang BK, Gates JE (1985) Selection of sites for winter night beds by white-tailed deer in a Hemlock-northern hardwood forest. Am Midl Nat 113:245–254. doi:10.2307/2425570

  17. Lekagul B, McNeely JA (1977) Mammals of Thailand. Association for the Conservation of Wildlife, Bangkok

  18. Linnell JDC, Nijhuis P, Teurlings I, Andersen R (1999) Selection of bed-sites by roe deer Capreolus capreolus fawns in a boreal forest landscape. Wildl Biol 5:225–231

  19. Linnell JDC, Nilsen EB, Andersen R (2004) Selection of bed-sites by roe deer Capreolus capreolus fawns in an agricultural landscape. Acta Theriol (Warsz) 49:103–111

  20. Lynam AJ, Round PD, Brockelman WY (2006) Status of large birds and mammals in Thailand’s Dong Phayayen—Khao Yai forest complex. Biodiversity Research and Training Program and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangkok

  21. Maxwell JF, Elliott S (2001) Vegetation and vascular flora of Doi Sutep—Pui National Park Thailand. Thai Studies in Biodiversity No. 5, Bangkok

  22. Millspaugh JJ, Raedeke KJ, Brundige GC, Willmott CC (1998) Summer bed sites of elk (Cervus elaphus) in the Black Hills, South Dakota: considerations for thermal cover management. Am Midl Nat 139:133–140. doi:10.1674/0003-0031(1998)139[0133:SBSOEC]2.0.CO;2

  23. Mysterud A (1996) Bed-site selection by adult roe deer Capreolus capreolus in southern Norway during summer. Wildl Biol 2:101–106

  24. Mysterud A, Ostbye E (1995) Bed-Site selection by European roe deer (Capreolus-Capreolus) in southern Norway during winter. Can J Zoology Revue Canadienne De Zool 73:924–932. doi:10.1139/z95-108

  25. Neu CW, Byers CR, Peek JM (1974) A technique for analysis of utilization-availability data. J Wildl Manage 38:541–545. doi:10.2307/3800887

  26. Nowak RM (1999) Walker’s mammals of the world, 6th edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore

  27. Ockenfels RA, Brooks DE (1994) Summer diurnal bed sites of coues white-tailed deer. J Wildl Manage 58:70–75. doi:10.2307/3809550

  28. Round PD (1984) The status and conservation of the bird community in Doi Sutep—Pui National Park, north-west Thailand. Nat Hist Bull Siam Soc 32:21–46

  29. Sargeant GA, Eberhardt LE, Peek JM (1994) Thermoregulation by mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in arid rangelands of southcentral Washington. J Mammal 75:536–544. doi:10.2307/1382578

  30. Schmitz OJ (2008) Effects of predator hunting mode on grassland ecosystem function. Science 319:952–954. doi:10.1126/science.1152355

  31. Smith HD, Oveson MC, Pritchett CL (1986) Characteristics of mule deer beds. Great Basin Nat 46:542–546

  32. Smitinand T (1977) Plants of Khao Yai National Park. New Thammada Press Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand

  33. Srikosamatara S, Hansel T (2000) Mammals of Khao Yai National Park, 2nd edn. Green World Foundation, Bangkok

  34. Teng LW, Liu ZS, Song YL, Zeng ZG (2004) Forage and bed sites characteristics of Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) in Hainan Island, China. Ecol Res 19:675–681. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1703.2004.00683.x

  35. Tull JC, Krausman PR, Steidl RJ (2001) Bed-site selection by desert mule deer in southern Arizona. Southwest Nat 46:354–357. doi:10.2307/3672432

Download references


We thank the Royal Forest Department and the National Research Council of Thailand, and the chief and staff of Khao Yai National Park. Funding for this project came from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science-to-Achieve-Results fellowship, a U.S. National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, and Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid-of-Research to JFB, by the Denver Zoological Foundation, the Universities of Montana and Washington, and by grants to WYB from the Biodiversity Research and Training Program, BIOTEC, Bangkok.

Author information

Correspondence to Jedediah F. Brodie.

About this article

Cite this article

Brodie, J.F., Brockelman, W.Y. Bed site selection of red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) in a tropical seasonal forest. Ecol Res 24, 1251–1256 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-009-0610-9

Download citation


  • Cervidae
  • Deer
  • Habitat selection
  • Ruminants
  • Thailand