By Jacobus du P. Bothma

Arid lands require that organisms inhabiting them be well-adapted to thrive or maybe simply to live on. This e-book presents a evaluation of the ecological variations - be they behavioural, physiological or morphological - of carnivores to arid environments. Following a basic advent into aridity and arid lands in Africa, the main carnivore households are offered. Ecological variations of carnivores in arid lands exhibit the amplitude and resilience of the ecology of those animals. In developing conservation measures, the character and quantity of such variations are very important points in opting for the powerful region and measure of heterogeneity required as habitat by means of a carnivore inhabitants which will produce a doable unit.

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In Zimbabwe, its diet often (72% of all scats) includes plant material, with wild figs Ficus sp. and wild prunes Parinari curatellifolia eaten most often . However, murids (35%), hares and invertebrates are readily eaten too. They less often eat carrion, birds and reptiles (Smithers 1983). In South Africa too, wild fruits are an important source of food for side-striped jackals, but there the principal fruits eaten are Diospyros sp. and Ziziphus sp. (n = 15 stomachs) (Bothma 1971d). MtillerUsing (1975) confirms that side-striped jackals supplement their diet substantially with plant material.

Regrettably, the season when the study was carried out is unknown. Although bat-eared foxes may also be nocturnal there, their main activity period is closely related to the availability of harvester ter mites which are maximally active and abundant on the open pan surface around noon. These termites are the main food for the bat-eared foxes there. As elsewhere in the southern Kalahari, the foxes are not territorial and intolerance between pairs has not been observed (Koop and Velimirov 1982). In winter, the bat-eared foxes of the Namib Desert emerge relatively early in the afternoon, at times just after noon, to start foraging, and 84% of all activity occurs before midnight.

Wild dogs chew food much more often than lions, cheetahs or spotted hyaenas do, except when feeding on skin. Generally, there is a negative relationship between the size of a predator and the need to chew, but the long muzzle of the wild dog has a mechanical advantage for chewing over other larger predators (Van Valkenburgh 1996). The dominant pair in a pack of African wild dogs has feeding priority in the Serengeti (Frame et al. 1979). In the Masai Mara area, wild dogs consume all the edible portions of their prey.

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