Within a species, home-range size can vary due to factors such as sex, mass, age, and breeding condition of individuals as well as habitat type, food availability, population density, and season. The objectives of this study were to estimate home ranges of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in sage-steppe habitat and to test the hypothesis that several factors (sex, mass, reproductive status, and seasonality) affect home-range size. We also tested the hypothesis that deer mice exhibit home-range fidelity over time. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) technology was used to estimate home ranges in June and September 2006. Home-range estimates varied from 360 m2 to 5868 m2 (65 individuals, 753 observations). Home-range size increased by approximately 60% from June to September. Besides seasonality, none of the other predictors of home range were informative in explaining the variation in home range. Deer mice recaptured in September (3 months after initial capture) had high fidelity in home-range use (42.1% [SE = 8.4%] overlap with 74.1% [SE = 8.7%] area conserved; n = 9). All animals for which home range was estimated in both seasons retained some fraction of their June home range in September. Results support the use of combined location data collected over long periods, such as weeks or months, to estimate home range for deer mice. The results have implications for deer mouse—pathogen ecology, particularly with respect to modeling transmission of Sin Nombre virus—a pathogen that is directly transmitted by deer mice.
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Vol. 70 • No. 3