Food digestibility of an eurasian badger meles meles with special reference to the mediterranean region
Rosalino LM., Loureiro F., MacDonald DW., Santos-Reis M.
Feeding trials were carried out with a captive adult badger Meles meles (Linnaeus, 1758) to establish relationships (digestibility coefficients) between the biomass of freshly consumed food and the dry undigested remnants recovered from scats (bone, teeth, hair, feathers, exoskeleton parts, seeds, etc). The foods studied were those revealed by our research to be the principal components of badger diet in a Mediterranean environment, and the values of the digestibility coefficients (DC) were: 24.74 for rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus, 21.72 for rodents, 19.81 for pigeons Columba sp., 99.50 for amphibians, 32.35 for arthropods imago, 44.39 for insect larvae, 18.45 for earthworms Lumbricus rubellus, 2.75 for acorns Quercus sp., 9.19 for arbutus Arbutus unedo, 12.25 for blackberries Rubus ulmifolius, 46.12 for figs Ficus carica, 34.87 for loquats Eriobotrya japonica, 10.94 for olives Olea europaea, and 12.02 for pears Pyrus bourgaeana. The variability of DC values was measured, and attributed to the heterogeneity of constituents of the selected food types. There was no statistically significant correlation between the average weight of consumed food and the digestibility coefficients, confirming the expectation that such coefficients must be derived empirically for each food type.