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1 August 2007 Feeding Ecology of a Feral Cat Population on a Small Mediterranean Island
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Abstract

Domestic cats (Felis catus) have been introduced on many islands in the world and are responsible for much damage to native insular faunas. The worldwide success and spread of this opportunistic predator is generally associated with its trophic adaptability. We examined the diet of a long-established feral cat population on a small Mediterranean island through the analysis of 1,219 scats collected during a 4-year period. Our results confirm that feral cats are generalist predators, able to feed on a wide range of prey. However, only a few prey species formed the major part of its diet. Two introduced mammals and a Mediterranean endemic seabird provided 93% of the yearly biomass consumed by cats (ship rats, 70%; wild rabbits, 7%; and yelkouan shearwaters, 6%). Ship rats remained by far the staple prey for cats throughout the year, but the diet of feral cats was more diversified in spring and early summer, frequently including insects, reptiles, and migrant birds. Endemic yelkouan shearwaters were preyed upon most frequently in autumn and winter, that is, during the shearwaters' prelaying period. Because rats provide the majority of the food of cats, they could help to maintain or inflate this alien predator population with deleterious consequences to the endemic shearwater. A cat eradication campaign would help protect the population of shearwaters on this island.

E. Bonnaud, K. Bourgeois, E. Vidal, Y. Kayser, Y. Tranchant, and J. Legrand "Feeding Ecology of a Feral Cat Population on a Small Mediterranean Island," Journal of Mammalogy 88(4), (1 August 2007). https://doi.org/10.1644/06-MAMM-A-031R2.1
Accepted: 1 November 2006; Published: 1 August 2007
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