Dancing to the message : African clawless otter scent marking behaviour

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Peer-Reviewed Research


Latrine use and behaviour at latrines have been studied in numerous otter species, but not African clawless otters, Aonyx capensis. We set up trail cameras at two latrines near Dullstroom, South Africa. On several occasions, we observed Aonyx capensis performing scent marking behaviours that included body rubbing on a bare patch of ground and deposition of anal secretions while “jiggle dancing”. Although body rubbing has been documented in this species, it has not been associated with scent marking, while “dancing” during scent marking has not been reported. Given the context of these observations, we speculate that the main function of scent marking behaviour in African clawless otters is likely related to inter-clan territorial marking.