Tool-use in a display behaviour by Eurasian beavers ( Castor fiber )
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAnimal cognition 10(2007), No4, p. 477-482 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-007-0075-6
Tool use is rare amongst rodents and has never been recorded in connection with agonistic displays. We witnessed a behaviour, stick display (StD), involving tool use in free-living Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) that we conclude is a display behaviour. Two beavers were the main performers of the signal that was observed in at least six beavers from three families. Beavers reacted to displays by increased evasive and agonistic behaviours compared with their usual behavioural patterns when at territory borders. The behaviour was almost exclusively seen between rivals at territory borders. We suggest that the display is used in agonistic encounters, mainly in a territorial context.