Prey Switching

Source Author Year Title Quote
DoC Operational Report DoC 2011 Operational Report for Possum, Ship rat Control in the Otira Possum Control 16 Jun 2011 – 30 Jun 2011 “The reduction in rats, the main prey of stoats, may lead to an increase in stoat predations on birds. The increase in mice may counter this to some degree if stoats switch to mice as their main prey item. In the short term resident stoats will die from feeding on dead possums and rats but this benefit will not be sustained, as stoats will rapidly re-invade the area. The abundance of introduced birds is more likely to form the bulk of stoat prey until rats become more plentiful again”
Science for Conservation 237 J. Parkes & E. Murphy 2004 Risk assessment of stoat control methods for New Zealand “Controlling primary prey can cause stoats to alter their diet to consume more secondary prey (often native species) and so, at least in the short term, cause more harm than good.”
NZ J Ecology 25: 315-328 E. Murphy et al 1998 Effects of rat-poisoning on abundance and diet of mustelids in New Zealand podocarp forests “stoats are likely to have the greatest effect on birds after successful 1080 poison operations”
NZ J Ecology 19 (1): 5-17 J. Innes et al 1995 Large-scale poisoning of ship rats (Rattus rattus) in indigenous forests of the North Island, New Zealand “Unexpected ecological repercussions of large-scale poisoning in North Island New Zealand may include a functional change (diet) by stoats and a numerical change (increase) by mice. Assessment of the costs and benefits of large-scale poisoning must allow for these and other repercussions of community perturbation.”