How far do animals go? Determinants of day range in mammals

Am Nat. 2005 Feb;165(2):290-7. doi: 10.1086/426790. Epub 2004 Dec 22.


Day range (daily distance traveled) is an important measure for understanding relationships between animal distributions and food resources. However, our understanding of variation in day range across species is limited. Here we present a day range model and compare predictions against a comprehensive analysis of mammalian day range. As found in previous studies, day range scales near the 1/4 power of body mass. Also, consistent with model predictions, taxonomic groups differ in the way day range scales with mass, associated with the most common diet types and foraging habitats. Faunivores have the longest day ranges and steepest body mass scaling. Frugivores and herbivores show intermediate and low scaling exponents, respectively. Day range in primates did not scale with mass, which may be consistent with the prediction that three-dimensional foraging habitats lead to lower exponents. Day ranges increase with group size in carnivores but not in other taxonomic groups.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Size
  • Diet
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Homing Behavior*
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / classification
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*