Introduction

Mammals, like other animals, can be expected to use whatever information is available to them when making decisions about activities such as foraging, mating, navigating, selecting shelter, or locating habitats. The range of information actually used by any one species can be predicted from its sensory apparatus—the stimuli they can perceive. Lifestyle plays an important role here, so that moles and other fosso-rial (also known as subterranean) mammals, including golden moles, some rodents, and at least one species of marsupial, can be expected to use vision less than species that are active aboveground, including the lion (Panthera leo), vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), or moose (Alces alces). Everyone who has walked a dog (Canis familiaris) or experienced the spraying of a male housecat (Felis cattus) knows the importance of odor in the lives of these mammals. The important role that sound plays in the lives of mammals becomes obvious when listening to the echolocation calls of a bat attacking an insect or to the bugling of a male elk (Cervus elaphus) during the rut.

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