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Carcass consumption by domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)


Clauss, Marcus; Lischke, Andreas; Botha, Heike; Hatt, Jean-Michel (2016). Carcass consumption by domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). European Journal of Wildlife Research, 62(1):143-145.

Abstract

Conventional concepts about trophic niches in mammals are often linked to adaptations of digestive physiol- ogy, and so carnivory by herbivorous animals is often consid- ered a physiological impossibility. However, numerous re- ports on events of carnivory in herbivores without apparent harmful consequences exist. Here, we report the habitual daily consumption of animal prey (day-old chicks and rodents) by two rabbits kept in a mixed-species exhibit with raptors over a period of 9 months. While not requiring a change of the clas- sification of rabbits as strict herbivores, anecdotes like this one suggest that some trophic niches might be better explained by other factors than digestive physiology, such as ecological opportunity, behavioural adaptations and biomechanical limits to ingestion.

Abstract

Conventional concepts about trophic niches in mammals are often linked to adaptations of digestive physiol- ogy, and so carnivory by herbivorous animals is often consid- ered a physiological impossibility. However, numerous re- ports on events of carnivory in herbivores without apparent harmful consequences exist. Here, we report the habitual daily consumption of animal prey (day-old chicks and rodents) by two rabbits kept in a mixed-species exhibit with raptors over a period of 9 months. While not requiring a change of the clas- sification of rabbits as strict herbivores, anecdotes like this one suggest that some trophic niches might be better explained by other factors than digestive physiology, such as ecological opportunity, behavioural adaptations and biomechanical limits to ingestion.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:17 Feb 2016 15:43
Last Modified:05 Jul 2017 09:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1612-4642
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-015-0980-y

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