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Durham e-Theses
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The diet and habitat utilisation of the badger (Meles meles) in an area to the South of Durham city

Fletcher, J.G. (1992) The diet and habitat utilisation of the badger (Meles meles) in an area to the South of Durham city. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The study investigates the diet and habitat utilisation of five badger clans in an area of mixed woodland, pasture and arable land between mid May and mid July 1992. During the study period 244 faecal samples were collected and analysed to determine the badgers' diet. Bait marking was used to determine the extent of each clan's home range. Badger diet was then compared with prey availability. The diet consisted predominantly of earthworms. A variety of other invertebrates and cereal were also taken. Earthworms were found to be consumed in greater volume on 'worm nights' than on 'non-worm nights' and this was the only correlation found between availability in the territory and presence in the diet for any of the prey types taken. There was a negative relationship between the percentage frequency of occurrence of cereal and earthworms in the diet. This coupled with the fact that the only badger clan with no cereal available in its territory consumed a significantly greater volume of earthworms than the other clans suggested that there was a relationship between earthworms and cereal in the diet, with badgers replacing one staple food by eating more of another staple food according to availability. The sizes of Coleoptera, larvae and Hymenoptera in the diet were compared with the sizes of these prey items available in the habitat. The results clearly showed that badgers were selecting against the sizes that were commonly available to them. They took significantly more of the larger prey items (˃10mm) than if they were taking them in proportion to their availability in the habitat.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Dec 2012 12:00

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