The selection of bedding sites is important for the ecology of ruminants, but has mainly been described for temperate species. Here we assessed the bed site selection of two Southeast Asian tropical deer, red muntjac and sambar, in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. We surveyed transects weekly for 10 weeks each in 2003 and 2004 to locate bed sites, and compared the slope, aspect, and forest canopy cover of bed site locations between the two species and with available habitat. As with most temperate deer, muntjac and sambar both avoided sites with low levels of cover for their bed site locations; this could be for concealment or thermoregulation. Sambar also selected flatter sites than would be expected by the availability of topographic slopes; this could be to reduce the energy associated with getting to and from bed sites, or to increase long-range visibility from sites. Muntjac and sambar differed in their choice of aspects for bed sites; muntjac disproportionately chose west-facing areas, while sambar chose east-facing locations. This could represent a strategy by which one species avoids the other, or else differential resource requirements between the two species.
- Habitat selection