Diet composition of the golden jackal Canis aureus in south-east Europe – a review

Lange, Pauline N.A.M.J.G.; Lelieveld, Glenn; Knegt, Henjo J. De


The golden jackal Canis aureus is spreading throughout Europe and settling in countries where it has never been found before. Understanding its trophic ecology is increasingly important as it colonises new areas and ecosystems. This paper aims to review the diet studies that have been performed on the golden jackal in Europe and provide a complete overview of its food intake, feeding behaviour and strategy. Golden jackals were found to eat mainly small mammals (54% biomass), followed by domestic animals, ungulates and plants; together, these items make up 90% of the golden jackal’s diet. Birds and lagomorphs were also often found in the diet. Domestic animals and ungulates were primarily consumed as carcasses, and not hunted or killed by golden jackals. The diet composition differs greatly between areas and seasons, which points towards the golden jackal as a highly adaptive opportunistic omnivore, and demonstrates its ability to use many available food resources. The golden jackal provides regulating and maintenance ecosystem services as a scavenger and consumer of crop pests.