Monday, December 16, 2013

Just how far is Waffles falling?

More updates on our favorite alpha (or not?) female from Serena North clan. After a week of rain we are finally back out in the field and it looks like Waffles and LCS have moved to Schiphol Den up on top of the hill (and right next to the road) near camp. Unfortunately it looks like Waffles has definitely dropped in rank, this morning she approached Sherman (the 2nd highest ranking adult female) and a subadult male named Fuzz with her ears pinned tightly back. The message here couldn't be clearer.

What was interesting was that when Sherman walked away Waffles proceed to greet with Fuzz with her ears back. In this photo you can see Waffles lifting leg for him while his ears are clearly forward. Fuzz is a mid/low ranking natal male and if Waffles is behaving submissively to him then she not only has lost her spot as alpha, but dropped quite far indeed. Or it could be that Sherman's presence had Waffles just acting submissively to everyone, only time will tell for sure. 

I also recently learned that Tinsel's and Mistletoe's (two mid ranking females) mother, Elf, was alpha at a point in Serena North's history before RBC was alpha. It seems then that North has a long tradition of an unstable hierarchy. Talek West clan (the clan that has been under study for 25+ years) has exhibited a very stable hierarchy, so we're not sure if Serena North's instability is unusual or if it is perhaps related to the location of Serena North in prime riverside (high prey density) territory, or some other unknown factors.


dee said...

I hate the thought of Waffles losing her spot at the top. Please keep us posted as things progress. Great post, as usual.

Nora said...

Thanks for the update! Geez...what the heck is going on out there?! Glad you're keeping a close watch ;)

Meg said...

Very interesting, thanks for the update!

Julia said...

That Sherman and Hooker coalition is hard to match -- two tough, large and in-charge ladies! Is this finally the Shooker rebellion!? It is strange to me that we've observed so few pairs of mothers and adult daughters in that clan (at least to our knowledge). Perhaps this lack of stable alliances also contributes to more turnover in rank positions?

Thanks for the updates!!

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