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About Crab-Eating Mongooses

(English below)


關於食蟹獴

食蟹獴通常在早晨和傍晚活動,最多可觀察到四隻成群的食蟹獴。據臺灣南部的種群,它們在旱季比雨季更活躍。看來他們在一天內以及季節之間的活動在台灣各地有所不同。牠們擅長游泳,並在溪流附近和靠近水域覓食。儘管乙食蟹來命名,但其飲食不僅限於螃蟹,也包括幾乎所有它們能捉到的東西,包括魚、蝸牛、青蛙、鼠類、鳥類、爬行動物和昆蟲。因此,它們被稱為泛食性動物。在竹湖生態園區,被陷阱困住的禍受傷的山羌,我們經常看到兩隻或三隻的成群活動,每天都可以在潮濕的土壤上發現牠們的腳印。

在2022年首次記錄到令人興奮的行為!在墾丁的沿海森林中觀察到食蟹獴使用岩石砸開寄居蟹文獻說: "蟹獴(Herpestes urva)廣泛分佈於東南亞。在台灣,食蟹獴(H. urva formosanus,特有亞種)是受野生動物保護法保護的物種。食蟹獴被觀察到靠近溪流、河岸、農地和淺山區... ... 然而,這篇文章呈現了食蟹獴首次使用石頭來砸開陸地寄居蟹的記錄案例。根據我們的觀察和野外記錄,我們確定食蟹獴使用平坦的岩石作為砧石,並用前爪反覆敲打寄居蟹的殼以破裂殼並取出寄居蟹。還觀察到食蟹獴只吃大型寄居蟹的腹部。需要進一步研究來確定食蟹獴為什麼遷往沿海森林以及它們如何學會打開寄居蟹的殼。食蟹獴的這種行為可能幫助它們適應生活在沿海森林中"。

點看看食蟹獴的覓食行為:


Crab-eating mongooses are usually active in the mornings and evenings, and were observed in groups of up to four individuals. They are also reported to be more active during dry season than in wet season, according to populations in Southern Taiwan. It seems that their activity within a day and between seasons differs across Taiwan. They are supposed to be good swimmers, and hunt along the banks of streams and close to water. Despite their common name, their diet consists not only of crabs, but also just about anything else they can catch, including fish, snails, frogs, rodents, birds, reptiles, and insects. Hence, they are called generalist feeders.


In Juhu Ecological Park, we have seen them actively feeding on live muntjacs that have been trapped in a net or laying injured. We often see them in groups of 2 or 3 staying close together. Everyday, you can find their footprints on moist soil.


In 2022, an exciting new behavior has been observed for the first time! Mongooses were observed to use rocks to crack open land hermit crabs in a coastal forest in Kenting.

Here is what this short article says:

"Crab-eating mongooses (Herpestes urva) are widely distributed across Southeast Asia. In Taiwan, the mongoose (H. urva formosanus, endemic subspecies) is a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act. Crab-eating mongooses have been observed near streams, riversides, agricultural lands, and shallow mountain areas... ... However, this article presents the first record case of mongooses using stone anvil to crack open land hermit crabs. From our observations and field records, we determined that mongooses use flat rocks as anvils and their front paws to tap hermit crabs’ shells repeatedly to break the shells and remove the hermit crabs. We also observed that the mongooses only ate the abdomens of large hermit crabs. Additional studies are necessary to determine why the mongooses migrated to the coastal forest and how they learned to open hermit crab shells. This behavior of mongooses might help them move into living in coastal forests."

Take a look at the video to see:




Reference

Chen, M. T., Tewes, M. E., Pei, K. J., & Grassman Jr, L. I. (2009). Activity patterns and habitat use of sympatric small carnivores in southern Taiwan.

Huang, S. H., & Hsu, C. H. (2022). First record of crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva formosanus) in coastal forest and use of anvils during predation on land hermit crabs in Taiwan. acta ethologica, 1-5.


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