Title

Relentless Predation on Gunnison's Prairie Dogs (Cynomys Gunnisoni) by a Single American Badger (Taxidea Taxus)

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2020

Subject Area

ARRAY(0x5573701a7ac0)

Abstract

- Predation affects the demography and population dynamics of prey species. Because predators commonly stalk prey from concealed routes, attack quickly, and frequently avoid areas with human observers, documenting predation under natural conditions is often difficult. An adult female American badger (Taxidea taxus) with offspring moved into a colony of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) living under natural conditions at Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico, United States, and provided an excellent opportunity to record predations over a period of 33 consecutive days in June-July 2018. Badgers are commonly nocturnal, but the badger at our study area captured a total of 100 Gunnison's prairie dogs during daylight hours. Sixty-two of the victims were adults (≥1 year old), 32 were juveniles (≤3 months since birth), and 6 were of unknown age. Most predations occurred in mid-morning and early afternoon. Our results, which do not account for nighttime predations and therefore underestimate numbers of successful attacks, suggest that a single predatory individual can have a sudden, devastating effect on a prey species.

Publication Title

Western North American Naturalist

Volume

80

Issue

3

First Page

345

Last Page

350

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.3398/064.080.0306

ISSN

15270904

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