Mammal Reactions to Novel Objects in Their Environment


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The way in which mammals respond to novel objects can inform experts and managers about how urbanization is impacting species. The behaviors of three common North American mammal species with great behavioral adaptability, raccoons (Procyon lotor); red foxes (Vulpes vulpes); and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), were observed using remotely triggered wildlife cameras and novel objects. The amount of time an individual spent within view of the camera, the number of behaviors exhibited, and the time it took an individual to approach novel objects and control sites were analyzed as a function of canopy cover, impervious cover, and human population density. Correlations between canopy cover, impervious cover, and population density and response variables, and the direction of effects differed between species, but trends emerged among similar taxa (carnivores). This study can inform plans and protocols to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts while considering how different species respond to urbanization.