The influence of predation risk on microhabitat selection in male adult deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) was examined using an enclosure experiment. The relative amount of time spent by the deer mice on coniferous leaf litter, hardwood leaf litter and logs was measured. Mice preferred dry coniferous litter over dry hardwood litter, but had no preference when both litter types were wet. Deer mice traveled more along logs placed on hardwood litter than on coniferous litter. Nocturnal mammalian and avian predators of deer mice often use sound to locate their prey, and mice rustling in hardwood leaf litter should be more easily detected. Therefore, deer mice restrict their movements to routes that reduce the risk of auditory detection by predators.
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Vol. 142 • No. 1