Variation in resource presence, utilization and reproductive success within a population of European Badgers (Meles meles)


  • H. HOFER

    1. Animal Behaviour Research Group, Department of Zoology, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford 0X1 3PS
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 2

      c/o Tanzania National Parks, PO Box 3134, Seronera, Arusha, Tanzania.


Variation in resource presence and resource utilization was investigated in a high density population of Badgers in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire. Earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) contributed the bulk of the diet. Differences between the diet of seven Badger groups were considerable and were most extreme during the summer. Earthworm biomass per habitat remained constant over at least 8 years, while biomass per group territory declined. Pasture fields and mature deciduous woodland (excluding beech-wood) constituted worm-rich, high quality, feeding areas. The combined relative proportion of the area of both habitats per group territory was a good predictor of total group consumption of earthworms and of the reproductive output per group, as measured by the number of independent young, while the dispersion of the two habitats determined the configuration of territories.