Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2015


This thesis is a case study of winter raccoon scavenging in Maine. The data used for my analysis came from a National Institute of Justice funded project on Regional Taphonomy done by Marcella Sorg from 2007 to 2012 (Sorg, 2013). I analyzed the photographic and videographic data from one pig cadaver site and identified raccoon scavenging “events.” This term is used to describe any period of time that one or more raccoons are scavenging. These events were then analyzed to investigate possible associations between scavenging behaviors and environmental variables, although none were positively identified. I adapted a method of describing soft tissue lost via animal scavenging from the “Total Body Score” system in Megyesi et al., 2005, which was written to describe levels of decomposition. Through the analysis of the data from this site, typical raccoon behavior was established. This includes nocturnal, winter defleshing without bone modification both individually and within groups. Although no connections were found with environmental variables, a high frequency of winter scavenging was found associated with the mating season and the availability of food.

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