Food habits of three carnivore species (Viverricula indica, Herpestes urva, and Melogale moschata) in Fushan Forest, northern Taiwan

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Abstract

The food habits and degrees of dietary overlap of lesser oriental civet (Viverricula indica), crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva), and ferret badger (Melogale moschata) inhabiting the Fushan Forest, northern Taiwan, were studied using faecal analysis between February 1993 and June 1994. Laboratory analysis of 154 civet faeces, and 174 mongoose faeces showed that both species fed on a wide variety of food items, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, insects, oligochaetes, gastropods, chilopods, arachnids, and plants. Insects, oligochaetes, plants, and mammals were the four most important food items in the civets' diet, whereas crustaceans, insects, amphibians, and reptiles were the four most important food items consumed by mongooses. Amphibians were the only vertebrates, together with invertebrates and plants, found in the 64 ferret badger faeces we analysed, and oligochaetes, insects, and amphibians were the most important food items consumed by ferret badgers. The diversity of diet was highest in the mongoose, followed by the civet, and was lowest in the ferret badger.

The degree of dietary overlap was greatest between the civet and the ferret badger, followed by that of the civet and mongoose. The mongoose and ferret badger had the lowest degree of dietary overlap. However, the degree of dietary overlap varied in different seasons. Invertebrates were the most important food source for the carnivores in Fushan Forest.

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