Evento de muestreo

Prey identification of free-ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) from rural and natural areas of Spain through scat analysis

Última versión Publicado por Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) en 29 de mayo de 2023 Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)

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This dataset includes information on the prey consumed by free-ranging domestic cats with different care/nourishment conditions, obtained from the analysis of scats. Most of the samples have been collected in two different regions (north of Palencia province and northeastern of the Sierra Nevada, Almería province), although opportunistic samples from volunteers from other localities of Spain are also included. The remains used to identify prey to the most specific taxonomic level are stored in the holdings of Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) and they are mainly composed of mandibles, teeth, feathers, scales and hard parts of arthropod exoskeletons. Scat samples were collected during 2022 in the framework of the project Feral Cats - WP4 SUMHAL with the goal of exploring the diversity of species that free-roaming domestic cats hunt and assessing which species or animal groups predominate in their catches. This dataset can be used to study the predatory activity of domestic cats and relate it to their environment, the conditions in which they live or their feeding regime, among other things.


Los datos en este recurso de evento de muestreo han sido publicados como Archivo Darwin Core(DwC-A), el cual es un formato estándar para compartir datos de biodiversidad como un conjunto de una o más tablas de datos. La tabla de datos del core contiene 353 registros.

también existen 1 tablas de datos de extensiones. Un registro en una extensión provee información adicional sobre un registro en el core. El número de registros en cada tabla de datos de la extensión se ilustra a continuación.

Event (core)

Este IPT archiva los datos y, por lo tanto, sirve como repositorio de datos. Los datos y los metadatos del recurso están disponibles para su descarga en la sección descargas. La tabla versiones enumera otras versiones del recurso que se han puesto a disposición del público y permite seguir los cambios realizados en el recurso a lo largo del tiempo.


La siguiente tabla muestra sólo las versiones publicadas del recurso que son de acceso público.

¿Cómo referenciar?

Los usuarios deben citar este trabajo de la siguiente manera:

Sanglas A, Roman J, Palomares F (2023). Prey identification of free-ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) from rural and natural areas of Spain through scat analysis. Version 1.3. Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). Samplingevent dataset. https://doi.org/10.15470/yncxe5


Los usuarios deben respetar los siguientes derechos de uso:

El publicador y propietario de los derechos de este trabajo es Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). Esta obra está bajo una licencia Creative Commons de Atribución/Reconocimiento-NoComercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0).

Registro GBIF

Este recurso ha sido registrado en GBIF con el siguiente UUID: ef448f77-16de-4e3f-9e3c-247f4f76efff.  Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) publica este recurso y está registrado en GBIF como un publicador de datos avalado por GBIF Spain.

Palabras clave

Occurrence; domestic cat; Felis catus; prey; captures; remains; scats; faeces; presence; predation; Montaña Palentina; Sierra Nevada; protected areas; Occurrence


Ariadna Sanglas
  • Proveedor De Contenido
  • Proveedor De Los Metadatos
  • Originador
Research assistant
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla
Jacinto Roman
  • Proveedor De Contenido
  • Originador
Research assistant
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla
Francisco Palomares
  • Proveedor De Los Metadatos
  • Originador
  • Punto De Contacto
  • Investigador Principal
Principal investigator
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla
Jairo Robla
  • Proveedor De Contenido
PhD student
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC
Avda. Américo Vespucio 26
41092 Sevilla

Cobertura geográfica

The collection is primarily formed by specimens found in free-ranging domestic cat scats from two main regions of Spain, Montaña Palentina Natural Park (north of Palencia province) and the northeastern of the Sierra Nevada National and Natural Park, in the province of Almería. It also contains specimens from free-ranging cat owners throughout Spain who kindly sent us scats from their cats.

Coordenadas límite Latitud Mínima Longitud Mínima [-90, -180], Latitud Máxima Longitud Máxima [90, 180]

Cobertura taxonómica

All specimens were identified to the most specific taxonomic level possible. Mandibles and teeth features were used to assess rodent species or genus. Scales from reptiles were usually used to reach order level. Feathers and calamus remains from birds did not allow us to get further from class level. Exoskeleton parts from arthropods, generally the third pair of legs, allowed us to identify some specimens to the species level, but most of them were identified to family level.

Class Aves (pájaro), Insecta (insecto), Mammalia (mamífero)
Orden Coleoptera (coleóptero), Mantodea (mantodeos), Odonata (libelula), Orthoptera (ortóptero), Rodentia (micromamífero), Squamata (réptil)
Familia Acrididae (saltamontes), Carabidae (carábido), Colubridae (culebra), Lacertidae (lagartija), Scarabaeidae (escarabajos), Tettigoniidae (saltamontes longicornio)
Género Anthidium (abeja), Apodemus, Calliptamus (saltamontes), Gryllus (grillo), Iris (mantis), Microtus, Mus, Platycleis (saltamontes longicornios), Volucella (sírfidos)
Especie Anacridium aegyptium (langosta egipcia), Apodemus sylvaticus (ratón de campo), Arvicola amphibius (rata topera), Arvicola sapidus (rata de agua), Crocidura russula (musaraña gris), Iris oratoria (mantis mediterránea), Melolontha melolontha (escarabajo sanjuanero), Microtus arvalis (topillo campesino), Microtus duodecimcostatus (topillo mediterraneo), Microtus lavernedii (topillo agreste), Microtus lusitanicus (topillo lusitano), Mus musculus (ratón doméstico), Mus spretus (ratón moruno), Segestria florentina, Sorex coronatus (musaraña tricolor), Talpa europaea (topo europeo)

Cobertura temporal

Fecha Inicial / Fecha Final 2022-02-17 / 2022-12-21

Datos del proyecto

The project SUMHAL aims at implementing a strategy for biodiversity conservation in the western Mediterranean hotspot by setting a technologically efficient and scientifically robust system. The project combines fieldwork and virtual research environments for the recording, storing, analysis, and dissemination of the conservation status and threats of biodiversity in Andalusia (Southern Spain). The general aim of WP4 is to raise awareness of the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the three main human-induced drivers of global change: a) biological invasions; b) land-use changes; and c) food subsidies, that are of great global concern and therefore relevant not only to Andalusian and Spanish ecosystems and societies, but also to Europe as a whole. SUMHAL's WP4 aims to use traditional and other novel methodologies, mainly of remote animal monitoring, in addition to the participation of society to monitor ecological and socio-economic impacts at different spatial scales.

Título Sustainability for Mediterranean Hotspots in Andalusia integrating LifeWatch ERIC (SUMHAL). Work package 4 (WP4): Combining field data, citizen science and loT to monitor anthropogenic impacts on Andalusian biodiversity and society
Identificador LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-04
Fuentes de Financiación This study was funded by MICINN through European Regional Development Fund [SUMHAL, LIFEWATCH-2019-09-CSIC-04, POPE 2014-2020]
Descripción del área de estudio SUMHAL focuses in Andalusia (Southern Spain), as a representation of the western Mediterranean ecosystems. However, each subproject that belongs to WP4 has its own study area at a more local level. In this case, WP4 - Feral Cats focus on studying the predation impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife in rural and natural environments.

Personas asociadas al proyecto:

Francisco Palomares
Jacinto Roman
  • Proveedor De Contenido

Métodos de muestreo

Scats were mainly collected from places near human settlements (towns, farms, isolated buildings...). For each sample, information associated with the cat that had deposited the excrement was associated when possible in form of two variables. Variable "Cat Type" describes the relationship of the cat with humans and includes the following categories: "Owned": cats that although left free outdoors (entirely or partially), are provided with at least regular food and shelter (veterinary care optional); "Colony cat": cats that live in groups in a specific area and spend their whole time outdoors basically because they do not belong to a specific owner. These may be often supported by caretakers or neighbours that provide them with food but do not consider themselves as owners. Variable "Care level" describes the frequency of food provided by people. It includes the following categories: "Fed": they have feeding guaranteed, either in form of controlled meals or "ad libitum"; "Semifed": they do not receive food in a regular manner or are fed insufficiently with cat food or leftovers and "Probably unfed": individuals found in such isolated or unpopulated places that they are unlikely to receive or have access to food coming from people. Therefore, they would only rely on their catches, although this category is difficult to prove.

Área de Estudio Scats samples were collected in two main regions of Spain, Parque Natural de la Montaña Pelentina (northern Palencia province) and northeastern of the Sierra Nevada National and Natural Park (area consisting of four municipalities of Almeria province, Abla, Abrucena, Ohanes and Las Tres Villas). The first area was located in Montaña Palentina Natural Park, an area composed of small villages surrounded by extensive livestock pastures and natural grasslands. Towns are nearly uninhabited during winter, when only farmers and older people remain, and filled with tourists and families with second homes during summer. Scats in the second area were collected in a non-managed cat colony present on the edge of Abla village, one of the main towns of the study area, and in the isolated cottages found widespread throughout the Natural Park area. Permanent residence within the Natural Park is now rare and cottages are mainly used for temporary stays such as vacations-weekends or crop maintenance. In both places, cat ownership is mainly for rodent control purposes. Finally, opportunistic scat samples were also collected from free-ranging cat owners throughout Spain, who had previously participated as volunteers tracking their cats for the citizen science part of WP4 - Feral Cats project, and who kindly sent us scats from their cats.
Control de Calidad The following limitations should be considered when analysing and interpreting these data: - Those remains belonging to species unlikely to have been hunted by a cat in the wild and which were probably of anthropogenic origin were not considered as prey (e.g. fish vertebrae coming from leftovers). - The number of prey consumed is the minimum possible based on body parts found in the scats that allow accounting for different individuals (e.g. mandibles, teeth, number of legs...). More individuals could have been consumed but may have been undetected due to non-individualisable remains such as fur or bones, thus underestimating the prey consumed. - In many cases, we do not know if the scats collected in a specific place belong to several cats or to the same individual.

Descripción de la metodología paso a paso:

  1. Sample processing: Scats were dried at 60 ºC degrees during 48-72h periods to avoid degradation by fungi or insects, as well as the transmission of possible diseases. Then, each sample was left in water for at least one day to hydrate and be able to separate the unidentifiable organic matter from undigested remains with a 500㎛ sieve. Remains such as fur, teeth, bones, mandibles, feathers, scales or hard parts of arthropod exoskeletons were kept in Petri plates for later identification. When content of scats consisted of more than 90% of dry cat food or leftovers, it was reported in "eventRemarks" field.
  2. Morphological identification: All specimens were identified to the most specific taxonomic level possible. Mandibles and teeth features were used to assess rodent species or genera following the manual of Roman (2019). Scales from reptiles were usually used to reach order levels. Feathers and calamus remains from birds did not allow us to get further from the class level. Exoskeleton parts from arthropods were analysed by expert entomologists. Generally, the third pair of legs allowed us to identify some specimens at the species level, but most of them were identified at the family level. The variable "identificationMethod" within the dynamic properties in the Occurrence table details the body part found and used in each scat to reach the species identification level. Variables "individualCount" in Occurrence table refers to the minimum number of different individuals of the same species found in the scat. This estimation is done by counting body parts such as mandibles, teeth or legs that can only be present in a certain number in each individual (e.g. there were three upper left mandibles in the scat and one rodent can only have one, it means that at least three individuals were consumed). The variable "sampleSizeValue" in Event table represents the sum of all organisms consumed found in that scat (e.g. two mice and a grasshopper gives an individual count of three).

Referencias bibliográficas

  1. Roman, J. 2019. Manual para la identificación de los cráneos de los roedores de la península ibérica, islas baleares y canarias. Manuales de Mastozoología de la SECEM. ISBN: 978-84-09-14779-3

Metadatos adicionales

Propósito The goal was to study the diversity of species that free-ranging domestic cats might be preying on, depending on the degree of nourishment and/or care received by people.
Descripción de mantenimiento New records will be added as further samples are collected and analysed.
Identificadores alternativos 10.15470/yncxe5