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Anim Behav. 1999 Mar;57(3):593-601.

Behavioural aspects of the raccoon mating system: determinants of consortship success.

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Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation


We monitored raccoons Procyon lotor, in southern Texas during the 1990-1992 mating seasons to describe mating behaviour and identify factors affecting consortship success. During most of this study, raccoons were spatially aggregated, with female home ranges congregated around permanent water sources and larger home ranges of male groups encompassing each female group. Consortship success varied among males and ranged from zero to six females per male within a mating season. Individual females consorted with one to four different males during an oestrous period; however, most (62%) females consorted with only one male during their oestrus. Dominance through overt conflict appeared to influence male consortship success. During two mating seasons, one male from each group consorted with females on more days than all other males combined. Body weight of males was positively correlated with number of consortship days. As synchrony of oestrus increased, variance in number of consortship days among males decreased, and access to oestrous females increased for subordinate males. Wounding among males increased during the mating season, and was more frequent for males than for females. The mating system, as determined by consortship behaviour, appeared to shift between polygyny and promiscuity, and possibly varied annually as a result of the timing of oestrous cycles. Copyright 1999 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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