Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Variation in Water Turnover by Wild Rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in an Arid Environment, due to Season, Age Group and Reproductive Condition

GC Richards

Australian Wildlife Research 6(3) 289 - 296
Published: 1979


Rates of water turnover were measured in free-living rabbits during a period of wide variation of climate and water availability. Mean rate of water turnover was positively correlated with the hydration of the pasture (r = 0.987). Mean turnover rates per day ranged from 214.3 ml kg-1 in cool, wet conditions to 55.4 ml kg-' in a moderate summer drought. The lowest individual rate was 46.1 ml kg-1 per day. The rate of water turnover in young rabbits (1-2 months old) was significantly higher than that of adults measured at the same time; this may contribute to the low survival of young rabbits in dry seasons. A comparison of the rates of water turnover from lactating rabbits in wet and dry seasons shows that the estimated milk production under dry pasture conditions is below that required to maintain a litter of young.


© CSIRO 1979

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