The Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx (Linnaeus 1758) is an opportunistic predator that usually selects the smallest ungulate available. Its diet varies considerably among different regions; therefore it is important to study lynx diet in different parts of the species’ range. We studied the diet of lynx from the endangered Dinaric population in Slovenia and Croatia by analyzing lynx scats, prey remains, and stomach contents. Dinaric lynx mainly killed European roe deer Capreolus capreolus (0.64 frequency of occurrence, 79% of all consumed biomass), which were used more frequently during winter and spring. Ungulates were killed more often by adult males than by lynx of other age and sex groups. In contrast to studies from other regions, lynx in the northern Dinaric Mountains also frequently fed on the edible dormice Glis glis (0.18 frequency of occurrence, 7% of all consumed biomass). This large rodent appears to be an important alternative prey, especially for females and young lynx, and was the reason for the highest use of rodents reported so far for the Eurasian lynx. Edible dormice in Dinaric forests have highly variable numbers of active animals. Seasonal and possibly annual variation in dormouse availability obviously affects lynx diet. This is a rare example where variability in the availability of the alternative prey and not the preferred prey leads to the dietary shift. This study confirms the opportunistic nature of Eurasian lynx and the regional variability of its diet.
Acta Theriologica – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 22, 2011
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