Food habits and habitat selection of suburban badgers (Meles meles) in Japan

Authors

  • Y. Kaneko,

    1. Wildlife Conservation, Department of Ecoregion Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo, Japan
    2. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
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  • N. Maruyama,

    1. Wildlife Conservation, Department of Ecoregion Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo, Japan
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  • D. W. Macdonald

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
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Correspondence
David W. Macdonald, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Tubney House, Tubney, Oxford OX13 5QL, UK. Tel: (+44)(0)1865 271132; Fax: (+44)(0)1865 271211
Email: david.macdonald@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

A study of the Japanese badger Meles meles anakuma was undertaken in Hinode, a suburb of Tokyo, between 1992 and 1998. Faecal analysis, based on 82 samples, revealed that during spring and summer, earthworms (Megaseolocidae spp.) occurred at high frequency in the diet, with berries (Rubus spp.), beetles and persimmon Dymopyrus kaki also eaten during summer months. Scavenged food was eaten in early spring when earthworm availability was low, and badgers switched from worms when persimmon became abundant in autumn. Twenty-one Japanese badgers (14 males and seven females) were radio-tracked. Adult badger home ranges were stable, and those of males [40±19 (sd) ha, n=7] were larger than those of females [11±6 (sd) ha, n=4]. Badger resting sites in each home range were located within 630 m of each other and categorized as setts or couches. Setts were sited within core areas (30% adaptive kernel method) of home ranges. Most setts were on a sub-ridge and avoided west-facing slopes. Couches, mainly in deciduous forest and forest edge, were generally sited towards the periphery of home ranges. Most badger foods were distributed along ecotones between forestry plantations and farmland; earthworms, their main food from late spring to summer, and berry thickets were both concentrated at the edge of conifer plantations. Persimmon trees, the main food source for badgers in autumn, were also found in agricultural land bordering forest edge. Badger home range size was related to forest edge density.

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