Dietary shifts in woodland seasons
Volume 70,Number 1, 1 January 2005, pp. 12-23(12)
Urban & Fischer
Dietary shifts of the badger in Mediterranean woodlands: an
opportunistic forager with seasonal specialisms
Accumulating publications on the feeding ecology of
the badger in different habitats throughout Europe provide a basis for
intra-specific comparisons, however, none has described their diet in
cork oak “montado” woodlands, found in the southwestern extreme of the
species' distribution. This study aims to understand how badgers use the
available trophic resources in “Serra de Grândola” (SW Portugal) and is
based on 450 scat samples collected between 1999 and 2000.
Nine food-items were identified, 3 of which comprise
89% of the biomass ingested by badgers in the cork oak woodland: fruits
(mainly olives, pears and figs), and adult and larval arthropods.
Food abundance was measured, and was shown to
fluctuate seasonally; the comparison between availability and
consumption suggests that food selection is affected by the pattern of
These findings reinforce the accumulating evidence
that badger ecology in many parts of Europe is heavily affected by local
patterns of agriculture and reveal that in this habitat the badger is a
generalist forager with seasonal specialisms.