We investigated the scavenging behavior of some vertebrate species inhabiting a mountainous area of Eastern Tuscany (Italy). Fieldwork was conducted by using camera traps from July 2010 to June 2013. The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) resulted to be the main scavenger species, followed by the wolf (Canis lupus), while the wild boar (Sus scrofa) resulted to be one of the less efficient scavengers, exploiting, in groups, only two carcasses. The wolf seemed to use carcasses mostly during the summer season, while no differences in red fox seasonal use of and visit to carcasses were detected. All the wild scavenger species showed a peak of activity between dusk and dawn, during both summer and winter, likely to minimize human disturbance. The red fox used carcasses whenever available, and in most cases it also was the first species arriving on a new carcass, with a very limited searching time. This paper represents the first Italian study on carrion use by Mediterranean vertebrate communities.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1