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1 February 2008 Food Habits of an Endangered Carnivore, Cryptoprocta ferox, in the Dry Deciduous Forests of Western Madagascar
Clare E. Hawkins, Paul A. Racey
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We describe the diet of fossas (Cryptoprocta ferox) in a dry deciduous forest of western Madagascar from 376 scats collected between June 1994 and September 1996, from which 554 prey items were identified. More than 90% of these were vertebrates, and more than 50% were lemurs. No other nonprimate mammal includes such a high proportion of primate items in its diet. The principal prey comprised approximately 6 lemur species and 2 or 3 spiny tenrec species, along with snakes and small mammals. Significant differences were apparent in the composition of the scats in wet and dry seasons, with a higher proportion of Tenrec in the former, and fewer lemurs. Within the confines of a diet of vertebrates, fossas appeared to be opportunistic predators. For those prey types for which data were available, a significant relationship was found between the estimated relative number of individuals taken of any one type of prey and its abundance. Fossas were estimated to remove up to 19% of their prey populations per year. This high impact suggests that they were living close to the maximum population density possible on the available prey. Species of a wide range of body masses were included in the diet. Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), weighing more than one-half of the body mass of the fossa, constituted approximately 11% of the prey biomass.

Clare E. Hawkins and Paul A. Racey "Food Habits of an Endangered Carnivore, Cryptoprocta ferox, in the Dry Deciduous Forests of Western Madagascar," Journal of Mammalogy 89(1), 64-74, (1 February 2008).
Accepted: 1 April 2007; Published: 1 February 2008

Cryptoprocta ferox
food habits
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