The diet of crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus, Procyonidae, Carnivora) in Itapuã State Park, southern Brazil

Mateus Pellanda, Cíntia Maria Castro Almeida, Maria de Fátima M. dos Santos, Sandra M. Hartz

Abstract


The raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus, F. Cuvier, 1798) is the only procyonid that occurs in Itapuã State Park. This conservation area has 5,566.5 ha and it is located in Porto Alegre metropolitan area. The purpose of this study was to do qualitative and quantitative analyses of the alimentary items consumed by the raccoons in the park, as well as investigate the seasonality influence upon the diet of these animals. Every month in 2002 fecal samples on fixed transects were collected, adding up two hundred and three samples. Forty-one alimentary items were found (53% fruits and 47% of animal origin items). The Arecaceae botanic family was the most eaten food, denoting the Syagrus romanzoffiana (Cham.) Glassman like the key resource of the raccoon diet, and the Butia capitata (Mart.) Becc. like an important seasonal alimentary resource. Other fruits like Ficus sp., Vitex megapotamica (Spreng.) Mold., Psidium sp., and Eugenia uruguayensis Cambess. were registered as additional items, sustaining the opportunist behavior of this species. Orthoptera, Blattaria, and Coleoptera were the most eaten invertebrate animals in the four seasons. The high relative frequencies of birds, rodents, and other mammals on the raccoon’s taxodiet during the winter and spring denote its needs for a more improved diet of proteins in this time, due probably to low temperatures and to the birth of the cubs. The difference in the diet composition was proved using the randomization test (α=0.05) to all the seasons, except between the winter and the spring. This result indicates that the diet of Procyon cancrivorus in PEI reflects the seasonal changes.

Key words: fecal analysis, feeding items, Procyon, southern Brazil.

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ISSN: 2236-3777 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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