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Re: herbivore <----> carnivore



Scott Horton writes:

>I don't want to dwell on this topic, so this will be my last comment. It seems
>to me that diet is so strongly programmed in a species instinct that it would
>starve rather than try some other food. ...

I think this will be my last statement (or rather pointer) on the
topic as well.  There is a range of specialization/generalization in
the feeding behavior of animals, and the koala may be at the extreme
end.  However, since you ask about hearsay and "carnivory" in deer:

Furness, R.W (1988).  "Predation on ground-nesting seabirds by island
     populations of red deer Cervus elaphus and sheep Ovis",
     _J. Zool._ 216(3) 565-573.

This is a summary that a friend of mine wrote about the article:

]         To summarize very briefly, sheep and deer were observed biting
] off the legs, wings or heads of unfledged Arctic terns and/or manx
] shearwater chicks.  "Killing of birds and selective ingestion of
] bone-rich parts by ruminants is presumed to be a response to mineral
] deficiensies in the vegetation which may only occur in rare situations
] where ruminants feed on mineral-deficient vegetation where there are
] dense colonies of ground nesting birds.

I'm sorry I said goats before when I meant sheep.

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)