Competitive interactions with dominant carnivores affect carrion acquisition of striped hyena in a semi-arid landscape of Rajasthan, India

Debashish Panda, Subham Mohanty, Maximilian L. Allen, Arjun Dheer, Ajay Sharma, Puneet Pandey, Hang Lee, Randeep Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scavenging of carrion is an important ecological process that influences ecological communities and food webs. The competitive inter- and intra-specific interactions in terrestrial vertebrate scavenger communities are likely to limit access to carrion for some scavengers, having direct impacts on their fitness by limiting energetic intake. Striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) are well-known facultative scavenger that co-exists with other carnivores (i.e., tigers, Panthera tigris; leopards, Panthera pardus; and golden jackals, Canis aureus) across the landscape. In this study, we assessed the competitive interactions among large carnivores having a large-sized body (i.e., striped hyenas, tigers, leopards) and a social group foraging mesocarnivore (i.e., golden jackal) through their carrion acquisition with special reference to striped hyenas’ carrion acquisition in the semi-arid region of Rajasthan, India. We deployed camera traps at 14 carcass sites from 2020 to 2022 and considered three main aspects of scavenging behavior (presence, total feeding time, and mean feeding bout duration). We used generalized linear models (GLMs) to understand the competitive interactions among large carnivores and mesocarnivores through their carcass consumption and scavenging efficiency. Our analyses showed that the tigers are dominant scavengers that monopolize carrion resources and reduce consumption time, and hence nutrition gained, of striped hyenas and the other carnivorous scavengers. But leopards and striped hyenas did not show any major negative interactions at carcasses, while both jackals and striped hyenas negatively affected each other’s carrion acquisition at carcasses; as a result, striped hyena’s presence affected the carrion acquisition by jackals, and also jackals affected the mean feeding bout duration of striped hyenas. Our results highlight the importance of functional traits in intraguild interactions and the potential effects of competition on carrion acquisition. Specifically, large carnivores that have specific traits, i.e., large body size, negatively affected the subordinate carnivores at carcasses, while the mesocarnivores that have specific traits, i.e., social group foraging, negatively affect the carrion acquisition and energetics of solitary feeding striped hyenas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalMammal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Carnivores
  • Carrion acquisition
  • Competition
  • Functional traits
  • Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Scavenger
  • Striped hyena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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