Diurnal time budgets and activity rhythm of captive Chinese water deer (
Hydropotes inermis)in spring and summer
Diurnal (06:00 -19:00)time budgets and activity rhythms for 24 captive Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis)(12♀,12♂)were observed from March to July,2008 in the Huaxia Park of Pudong,Shanghai using instantaneous scan sampling and all-occurrence recording methods. The behaviors recorded included resting,ruminating,standing,alertness, feeding,moving,auto-grooming,urinating and social behaviors. In both spring and summer,resting was the principal activity of the Chinese water deer,followed by feeding and moving. The diurnal behaviors of the Chinese water deer had a clear rhythm,the active periods were concentrated near dawn (06:00 - 08:00)and dusk (16:00 - 18:00).
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The deer spent significantly more time resting but significantly less time standing,urinating,auto-grooming and moving in summer than they did in the spring (One-way ANOVA ）analysis and Mann-Whitney U Test ). Compared to males females spent significantly more time standing and ruminating,but significantly less time resting,auto-grooming and displaying alertness. As to the females,there were more significant difference in standing,urinating,auto-grooming,moving and social behaviors and significantly difference in feeding between spring and summer. In spring,the females spent more time standing,urinating,auto-grooming and moving than in summer. Females spent more time feeding and on social behaviors because they have high energy pregnancy and post-partum requirements in summer. To the males,resting,feeding,autogrooming, alerting and social behaviors showed more significantly differences than standing,ruminating,urinating and moving between spring and summer. In spring,they spent more time on feeding,auto-grooming,alerting,standing,ruminating, urinating,moving and social behaviors,except resting. The results indicated that the Hydropotes inermis in the Huaxia Park had time budgets and activity rhythms similar to those of the wild population and the welfare of the deer was well satisfied. We believe that the results will be useful to new management practices and could be the theoretical basis for release to the wild in Shanghai.