oa African Zoology - Effects of supplemental food on the habitat selected by Mastomys natalensis Muridae: Rodentia) in a subtropical grassland in Swaziland

Volume 33, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Mastomys natalensis, the multimammate mouse, was live-trapped on six grids varying in vegetative cover and vegetation height between June 1996 and May 1997. There were three treatments, each with two replicates: reduced cover, reduced cover with supplementary food and control. The numbers of M. natafensis on the grids with reduced cover were lower than those on the control. Food supplementation, however, significantly increased numbers on one of the replicates. There were also significant differences in the number and proportion of resident and adult mice among the grids. The grids with reduced cover supported a population with a lower number and proportion of adult and resident mice than those on the control. In contrast, despite the reduced cover on the food supplemented grids, the population on one of the these grids exhibited a higher number and proportion of adult and resident mice than those on the control. Mastomys natafensis appears to select patches with greater vegetative cover but it will abandon cover in the presence of an abundant food source.

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