Letter | Published:

Territorial Function of Chin Gland Secretion in the Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.)

Naturevolume 193page799 (1962) | Download Citation



INVESTIGATION of wild rabbits confined in experimental enclosures of approximately 2 acres at Gungahlin, near Canberra, and at Albury has established the existence of discrete social groups, each with its own territory and dominance hierarchy4,5. In the enclosure at Gungahlin, rabbits have been observed to mark objects in their territories with the secretion of the chin gland, as well as with urine and fæces. Features such as the edges of posts, tips of grass blades and branches, edges of burrow entrances, walls and ceilings of cages, and even kittens and does during amatory behaviour, are subjected to ‘chinning’ during which they are smeared with small amounts of secretion.

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  1. 1

    Buschke, W., Z. Zellforsch. und mikroskcop. Anat., 18, 217 (1933).

  2. 2

    Krause, W., Die Anatomie des Kaninchens in topographischer und operativer Rücksicht, second ed. (Engelmann, Leipzig, 1884).

  3. 3

    Schaffer, J., Die Hautdrüsenorgane der Saügetiere (Urban and Schwarzenberg, Berlin and Wien, 1940).

  4. 4

    Myers, K., and Mykytowycz, R., Nature, 181, 1515 (1958).

  5. 5

    Mykytowycz, R., C.S.I.R.O. Wildl. Res., 3, 7 (1958).

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  1. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Wildlife Survey Section, Canberra



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