First report of the thick-tailed bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus) being preyed upon by an endemic carnivore (Caracal caracal) in South Africa

Keywords: caracal, conservation, predation


To date, there have been few published reports of Caracal spp. (or other non-domestic carnivores) preying upon nocturnal strepsirrhine primates anywhere in continental Africa. However, in South Africa, most studies of caracal diet have been conducted outside of the known geographic range of South Africa’s nocturnal primates. Here we report Otolemur crassicaudatus (the greater or thick-tailed bushbaby/galago) remains recovered from the stomach of a caracal, collected in Limpopo province, South Africa, in 2018, which included portions of the limbs, tail, skull and dentition, allowing confident taxonomic assignment. Sixty-seven carnivores (equal in size or larger than O. crassicaudatus), including one other caracal, also had stomach contents examined between 2012 and 2019 in northern South Africa. None included O. crassicaudatus remains, making this the first documented example of this non-human primate species being preyed upon by an endemic carnivore; kills of O. crassicaudatus by domestic dogs, though not being consumed, have previously been documented. These data expand the knowledge of the diet of caracal in southern Africa and may signal an expanding caracal dietary regime and possible behavioural changes in O. crassicaudatus, such as increased terrestrial movement, with increasing human actions and reduction of endemic forests and habitats.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020