Influence of Care of Domestic Carnivores on Their Predation on Vertebrates

Eduardo A. Silva-Rodríguez, Kathryn E. Sieving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) are the most abundant mammalian carnivores worldwide. Given that domestic carnivores rely on human-provided food, their densities are usually independent of prey densities. Nevertheless, underfed pets may need to hunt to meet their energetic and nutritional requirements. We explored the effects of different levels of care (provision of food) of dogs and cats on their predation rates on wild vertebrates in 2 areas of southern Chile. We interviewed cat and dog owners and analyzed prey remains in scats of pets to examine how domestic dogs and cats were managed and to gather information on the wild vertebrates killed and harassed by pets. We used logistic regression to examine the association between pet care and the frequency of wild vertebrate remains in scats. The probability of a dog preying on vertebrates was higher for poorly fed than for adequately fed dogs (odds ratio = 3.7) and for poorly fed than for adequately fed cats (odds ratio = 4.7). Domestic dogs and cats preyed on most endemic and threatened mammals present in the study sites. Our results provide support for the hypothesis that the less care domestic animals receive from owners the higher the probability those animals will prey on wild vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-815
Number of pages8
JournalConservation Biology
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

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carnivore
carnivores
Vertebrates
vertebrate
predation
vertebrates
Dogs
Cats
cats
dogs
Pets
pets
odds ratio
pet care
Odds Ratio
pet foods
nutritional requirement
food
animal
Food

Keywords

  • Chile
  • Domestic dog
  • House cat
  • Invasive species
  • Management
  • Trophic subsidy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Medicine(all)
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Silva-Rodríguez, Eduardo A. ; Sieving, Kathryn E. / Influence of Care of Domestic Carnivores on Their Predation on Vertebrates. In: Conservation Biology. 2011 ; Vol. 25, No. 4. pp. 808-815.
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Influence of Care of Domestic Carnivores on Their Predation on Vertebrates. / Silva-Rodríguez, Eduardo A.; Sieving, Kathryn E.

In: Conservation Biology, Vol. 25, No. 4, 08.2011, p. 808-815.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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