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Diet of raccoon dogs in summer in the Finnish archipelago

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The diet of raccoon dogs in summer was examined in the Finnish archipelago and compared with their diet on the mainland. Faeces were collected from latrines in the outer archipelago and the inhabited islands in May–July 1998 and 1999. Remains of waterfowl, especially those of female eider, occurred frequently in the faeces of raccoon dogs on the uninhabited islands, but less frequently on the inhabited islands and only occasionally on the mainland. Since many female eider died of disease during the summer in 1998 and 1999, and white-tailed eagles are known to prey on brooding eider, it is probable that raccoon dogs did not themselves kill all the eider they consumed. Even if they did, they would only take a few percent of female eider population each year. It is thus improbable that raccoon dogs affect the size of the eider population in the Finnish archipelago. Frogs, reptiles, shrews and carrion occurred frequently in the diet on the mainland, but only occasionally in the outer archipelago. It is possible that raccoon dogs have decimated frog populations on small islands, as they are easy prey and occur frequently in the diet of raccoon dogs on the mainland. Small rodents are important prey for raccoon dogs on the mainland and on inhabited islands, but less important in the outer archipelago in early summer.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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