The feeding habits of the golden jackal Canis aureus (Linnaeus, 1758) were compared using scat analysis in Hungary (temperate climate agricultural area), Greece (Mediterranean marshland), and Israel (Mediterranean agricultural area). Samples (84, 70 and 64 scats, respectively) were collected during late autumn, a period with capital importance to the long term survival of young jackals, during which they become independent. Predation of wild-living prey species was highest in Hungary, consisting primarily of small mammals (biomass estimation: 51.5%, mainly rodents), contrary to Israel and Greece, where scavenging on domestic animals dominated the diet of jackals (74%, mainly poultry and 62.6%, mainly goats, respectively). The highest consumption of wild ungulates (mainly wild boar) was found in Greece (15.7%), and plants in Hungary (39%). Bird consumption was low in all three areas. Reptiles, amphibians and fish occurred only in the diet of jackals in Greece and Israel, whereas invertebrates were eaten more frequently in Hungary. Jackal dietary composition was extremely variable between regions, strongly associated with human presence. These results illustrate the golden jackal as having a very variable diet, resulting from opportunistic feeding habits.
- Opportunistic feeding habits
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology