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Social Structure of Feral Horses in the Llanos of Venezuela

M. Andreína Pacheco, Emilio A. Herrera
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1382634 15-22 First published online: 21 February 1997


Feral horses (Equus caballus) in the Venezuelan savannas (llanos) formed bands of 3–35 individuals; mean group size varied between 15 and 21. Some bands had up to three adult males, and there was a positive correlation between the number of males and the number of females in bands. Adult males also were seen solitary or formed bachelor groups. One association of three females was observed for 3 months. We noted a correlation between number of females in bands and number of foals per female bom during our study (January-July 1992). The advantages of being in larger groups were unclear, because natural predators were rare. Perhaps females in larger groups have more time available for foraging due to reduced individual vigilance or that larger groups live in better-quality home ranges.

Key words
  • Equus caballus
  • feral horses
  • social structure
  • llanos
  • Venezuela