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CarniDIET 1.0: A database of terrestrial, carnivorous mammal diets

Cite this dataset

Middleton, Owen et al. (2022). CarniDIET 1.0: A database of terrestrial, carnivorous mammal diets [Dataset]. Dryad.


Motivation: A species’ diet is central to understanding many aspects of its biology, including its behaviour, movement, and ecological niche. The diets of terrestrial carnivorous mammals, defined here as species primarily consuming other mammals (hereafter, mammal-consumers), have been extensively studied and can vary in the proportion of different food types, and species, consumed across their geographic ranges. Accessibility to data capturing such variation in diets of mammal-consumers across the variety of ecosystems they occur in would provide valuable information for conservation, and open research avenues for macroevolution and macroecology. However, data on mammal-consumer diets across their geographic ranges have not been systematically collated. Here, we present CarniDIET (Version 1.0), an open-access database containing quantitative data on the diets of terrestrial mammal-consumers collated from the literature.

Main types of variable contained: Diet records capturing the percentage of mammalian prey, to the highest taxonomic resolution available, and non-mammalian food types (e.g. birds, invertebrates) in the diets of mammal-consumers at specific sites and times. Associated data with each diet record includes, where available, age and sex of mammal-consumer, sample size, sample origin, and quantification method as well as spatial and temporal variables including dates, season, study site, altitude and coordinates.

Spatial location and grain: Global, terrestrial. The spatial grain varies among sites from 0.03km2 to 100000km2, with a median of 170km2. Study centroids are provided as latitude-longitude coordinates.

Time period and grain: Original diet samples were collected between 1933 and 2017, with half of studies collected between 1994 and 2008. Studies summarise diets from one month to 66 years, with a median of one year.

Major taxa and level of measurement: Terrestrial carnivorous mammals that primarily consume other mammals (103 species). Studies generally represent species’ population averages, although can include demographic breakdowns.


Data collated from (primarily) peer-reviewed papers describing the site-specific compositions of terrestrial, carnivorous mammals from around the world. In CarniDIET 1.0, carnivorous mammals were those that primarily consumed other mammals (in the paper described as 'mammal-consumers'), as the methods used and ways of presenting data are fairly standardised among these species.

Usage notes

Please see the manuscript at Global Ecology and Biogeography for full methodology. The Github page will be used to host future updates: