Prey often respond to predators by increasing their use of refuges but relatively few studies have analyzed how prey decide when to resume their behavior after a predator’s unsuccessful attack. This is important because refuge use may have some costs that should be minimized such as the loss of time available for foraging or mate searching. In addition, unfavorable conditions in refuges (e.g., suboptimal temperatures) might entail physiological costs such as hypothermia. Under these circumstances, animals should optimize the decision of when to come out from a refuge by balancing the fitness effects of the diminution of predation risk with time against the costs of loss of time available for other activities and loss of time spent at optimal body temperature. I review several experiments with lizards that support that individuals decide to come out from a refuge when the costs of hiding exceed predation risk in the exterior, and that there is an optimal emergence time. Optimization of these antipredatory behavioral strategies might help lizards to cope with changes in predation risk without incurring excessive costs.
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