Why These Bears “Waste” Food

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Optimal foraging theory means that turning down food is sometimes more efficient than eating it – but even then, what’s “wasted” doesn’t necessarily go to waste.

To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Foraging: to search widely for food.
Optimal Foraging Theory: A behavioral model that describes how an animal should behave when searching for food.
Surplus Killing: a common behavior exhibited by predators, in which they kill more prey than they can immediately eat and then cache or abandon the remainder.

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Alcock, J. (2013). Animal behavior : an evolutionary approach. Sinauer, Cop.

Hopkins, J. B. (2013). Use of genetics to investigate socially learned foraging behavior in free-ranging black bears. Journal of Mammalogy, 94(6), 1214–1222.

Klinka, D. R., & Reimchen, T. E. (2009). Darkness, Twilight, and Daylight Foraging Success of Bears (Ursus americanus) on Salmon in Coastal British Columbia. Journal of Mammalogy, 90(1), 144–149.

Lincoln, A. E., & Quinn, T. P. (2018). Optimal foraging or surplus killing: selective consumption and discarding of salmon by brown bears. Behavioral Ecology, 30(1), 202–212.

Lounibos, L. P., Makhni, S., Alto, B. W., & Kesavaraju, B. (2008). Surplus Killing by Predatory Larvae of Corethrella appendiculata: Prepupal Timing and Site-Specific Attack on Mosquito Prey. Journal of Insect Behavior, 21(2), 47–54.

Maupin, J. L. (2001). Superfluous killing in spiders: a consequence of adaptation to food-limited environments? Behavioral Ecology, 12(5), 569–576.

McMahon, B. F., & Evans, R. M. (1992). Foraging Strategies of American White Pelicans. Behaviour, 120(1-2), 69–89.×00219

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