Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scotland's adventurous voles

Water voles in the north-west of Scotland live in naturally fragmented habitats. The furry little animals live in small groups with a normal range of only a few hundred square metres, often separated from other groups by several kilometres. However, when young voles reach maturity, they often head off on big adventures, travelling many kilometres from their home territory. A search for love seems to be the driver of these vole journeys. This behaviour helps prevent inbreeding among voles and allows small vole groups to be rejuvenated by new arrivals.

Scientists researching the voles' behaviour think it may have relevance to other animals who have seen their habitats fragmented by human expansion.


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