Abstract

The food habits of a freshwater pelomedusid turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa) were studied by fecal analysis and stomach flushing in 2 study areas in Nigeria. Males and females were predominantly carnivorous; they fed mainly on fish, tadpoles, and aquatic invertebrates but also on terrestrial vertebrates. Sexes overlapped highly in dietary habits during both wet and dry season. Body size clearly affected diet composition of turtles but did so only during the dry season (with smaller individuals feeding primarily on invertebrates and small vertebrates, and larger individuals on homeotherm vertebrates). There was a strong effect of season on diet composition, and turtles responded to increasing dryness with a shift from a diet based on aquatic organisms during the wet season to a diet based on terrestrial organisms, including small vertebrates, during the dry season.

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