1. College of Life and Environment Sciences, Central University for Nationalities, Beijing 100081, China 2. China Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China 3. College of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
From June 2000 to February 2001, focal sampling and occurrence recording were used to quantify the behavioural patterns of captive male alpine musk deer (Moschus sifanicus) at Xinglongshan Musk Deer Farm in Gansu Province, northwest China. The behavioural patterns of unsuccessfully mounting males (UM) and successfully mounting males (SM) were compared to identify behavioural differences. The results showed that, in the non-mating season (Aug. to Oct.), SM foraged significantly less than UM, and bedding and tail rubbing behaviour of the former were significantly more frequent than those of the latter. In the mating season (Nov. to Jan.), the bedding behaviour of SM was less than that of UM. However, conflict behavior, tail rubbing and urinating/defecating of SM were all significantly higher than those of UM. This research showed that bedding behavior and tail rubbing behavior were significantly different between SM and UM during the mating and non-mating seasons. These behaviours, especially tail rubbing, could be used as behavioral indicators to differentiate the reproductive performance of captive male musk deer. Using this method, males with high frequency of tail rubbing could be chosen as the mating males, improving the pregnancy rate of female musk deer, and reducing the cost of the musk deer farming.