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科学美国人60秒:无食不吃的土狼

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:03-31
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Coyotes Eat Everything From Fruits to Cats

无食不吃的土狼

Coyotes can do really well in some cities. Los Angeles has always had coyotes, while the predators are relative newcomers to places like Chicago and New York. But how much do coyotes rely on human activity for food?

土狼在一些城市可以活得很好。洛杉矶一直有土狼,但食肉动物相对于来说芝加哥和纽约等地的是新来者。但是土狼在多大程度上依赖人类活动来获取食物呢?

"Los Angeles is this really interesting, unique city. Coyotes occur literally across the gradient. They're everywhere from downtown Los Angeles at the stadium where the Dodgers play, all the way into the Santa Monica Mountains in some of the more rural, rugged landscapes."

“洛杉矶是一个非常有趣、独特的城市。从字面上看,土狼是跨越坡度出现的。它们出现在洛杉矶市中心的道奇队比赛的体育场,也出现在圣莫尼卡山区的一些乡村和崎岖的景观。”

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Biologist Rachel Larson, who led a newly published study on coyotes in the L.A. area. Now at the University of Iowa, did this work as a graduate student at California State University in Northridge.

生物学家瑞秋·拉尔森领导了一项关于洛杉矶地区郊狼的新研究。现在在爱荷华大学,同时作为一个研究生在加州州立大学参与了这项工作。

She and her team used two different methods to figure out what coyotes were eating. First, they worked with citizen scientists to collect and analyze evidence the animals left behind.

她和团队用了两种不同的方法来弄清楚土狼吃的是什么。首先,他们与民间科学家合作,收集和分析动物留下的证据。

"Scat tells you what a coyote had for its most recent meal…but scat has really detailed information. When you look at the hair and the teeth and seeds and bones, you can pretty much identify almost the exact species that those coyotes were eating. But it's only one meal."

“Scat会告诉你土狼最近吃了什么……但Scat有非常详细的信息。”当观察它们的毛发、牙齿、种子和骨头时,几乎可以确定这些土狼吃的是什么物种。但这只是一顿饭。”

So the researchers also measured the proportions of different carbon and nitrogen isotopes in whiskers from coyotes.

因此,研究人员还测量了土狼胡须中不同碳同位素和氮同位素的比例。

"The isotopes tell you the general diet over a much broader timespan. For the whiskers, we think it's approximately several weeks to even a few months' worth of diet. It actually tells you what the coyote is digesting and assimilating into its own tissues."

同位素可以告诉你动物长时间范围内的饮食。通过胡须,我们判断土狼大约几周甚至几个月的饮食。它实际上告诉你土狼在消化和吸收的组织。

Rural coyotes stuck almost exclusively to natural food resources. In the most heavily urbanized areas, they relied on foods humans made it possible for them to get. That includes people’s cats, which showed up in around 20 percent of their droppings.

农村土狼几乎只吃天然食物。在城市化最严重的地区,它们依赖于人类为他们提供的食物,其中包括人类的猫,大约20%的粪便中都有猫的残骸。

And in suburbs, coyotes ate everything. During the winter, they hunted rabbits, gophers, and squirrels. But in the drier summer months they relied more on human foods, especially on fruits fallen from backyard plants like figs, palms and grapes. The findings are in the journal PLOS ONE.

在郊区,土狼什么都吃。在冬天,它们捕猎兔子、地鼠和松鼠。但在干燥的夏季,它们更依赖人类的食物,尤其是从后院的植物上落下的水果,如无花果、棕榈树和葡萄。这项研究结果发表在《公共科学图书馆·综合》杂志上。

"One of the things that our study has found is how important things like fruits are to animals like coyotes. They're not strictly carnivorous. They'll basically eat anything that fits in their mouth. "

我们的研究发现,水果这样的东西对土狼来说很重要。因为它们不是严格意义上的食肉动物,基本上会吃所有可食用的东西。”

By understanding these patterns, wildlife officials can better help homeowners learn to coexist with coyotes—and to keep their pets safe.

通过了解这些模式,野生动物官员可以更好地帮助房主学会与土狼共存,并保护自己宠物的安全。

"So now we have more information about the kinds of things that are attracting the coyotes to certain areas. They love having cats around and they love having garbage and fruits around. So if we can control their access to those things, you'll no longer see coyotes utilizing that space. There's nothing attracting them there."

“所以现在我们有了更多关于吸引土狼到特定地区的信息。它们喜欢有猫的地方,喜欢有垃圾和水果的地方。所以如果我们能控制它们接近这些东西,就不会再看到土狼利用这些空间了。因为那里没什么能吸引它们了。”

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