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.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Ecología, evolución, comportamiento y sistemática
- Medicina (todo)
- Conservación de la naturaleza y el paisaje