Lutra 57(2)_Hlavacova & Hlavac_2014

Spatial ecology and reproductive biology of an invasive American mink (Neovison vison) population - new findings from the Czech-Moravian Highlands

The aim of this study was to obtain new information about the biology (spatial behaviour, circadian activity, reproductive ecology, etc.) of the American mink (Neovison vison) in the Czech-Moravian Highlands. A telemetry study was carried out with four males and three females in the Sazava River basin near Havlickuv Brod from 2004 to 2012. Several animals were monitored for more than a year, including the periods of mating, pregnancy and care of cubs. The telemetry study was supplemented with camera trapping and snow surveys during the winter. The research focused on sexual differences in the size and overlaps of home ranges, annual changes in spatial behaviour, circadian activity and reproductive and parental behaviour. Males and females differed in home range size, with the male home ranges being verifiably larger. The two sexes were also more active at different times: males were most active during the night, while the females were active during both day and night. The most striking sexual differences in spatial behaviour were found during the mating season (in March and April). During this period, the males occupied considerably larger home ranges than during the rest of the year. Female home ranges were stable for the whole year round. During April and May they intensively prepared burrows for parturition by bringing in organic material.