Behavior

Tuco-tucos are mostly solitary animals. Individuals get together only during the mating season for copulation and, after pregnancy, the pups remain with the mother for a few months before dispersing. Some species have been suggested as social, but that condition is confirmed only for Ctenomys sociabilis.

Ctenomys uses sounds, odors, and touch to communicate with each other. Tactile communication appears at close contact. Urine and feces act as chemical signals. General knowledge about them is scarce.

Vocalizations have been reported for many Ctenomys species, both solitary and social. Solitary animals have limited repertoires of four to six different signals. The common name of these animals (tuco-tuco) is an onomatopoeic representation of their territorial/warning vocalizations that can be

Azara's tuco-tuco (Ctenomys azarae) has stiff hairs on its feet to help move dirt. (Photo by Gabriel Rojo. Reproduced by permission.)

heard from fairly great distances outside their burrows. Most common vocal signals for solitary animals are territorial, aggressive, male courting (guttural sounds), female-mounting acceptance, and pup contact/isolation calls (with a "crying" quality).

The majority of the solitary species of Ctenomys are territorial and they maintain separate burrows, using warning signals. In social animals, each colony maintains their burrow system independent from others, also using signals. Solitary animals are very aggressive. Social animals also have aggressive behaviors, but they can be more tolerant.

Tuco-tucos are thought to be polyrhythmic in their activity patterns, alternating many activity periods with resting or immobility throughout the day. They seem to be basically di-

The Azara's tuco-tuco's (Ctenomys azarae) claws are more developed on the forelegs. (Photo by Gabriel Rojo. Reproduced by permission.)
The Talas tuco-tuco's (Ctenomys talarum) eyes are close to the top of its head, allowing it to remain unexposed while surveying its surroundings. (Photo by Aníbal Parera. Reproduced by permission.)

umal, at least for foraging outside their burrows. Nevertheless, the current information available is very scarce. No migratory patterns are known.

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