Behavioral Ecology


, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 357-364

First online:

When carnivores are “full and lazy”

  • Jonathan M. JeschkeAffiliated withSection of Evolutionary Ecology, Department Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversityLaboratory of Ecological and Evolutionary Dynamics, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of HelsinkiEvolutionary Ecology Unit, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä Email author 

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Are animals usually hungry and busily looking for food, or do they often meet their energetic and other needs in the 24 h of a day? Focusing on carnivores, I provide evidence for the latter scenario. I develop a model that predicts the minimum food abundance at which a carnivore reaches satiation and is released from time constraints. Literature data from five invertebrate and vertebrate species suggest that food abundances experienced in the field often exceed this threshold. A comparison of energetic demands to kill rates also suggests that carnivores often reach satiation: for the 16 bird and mammal species analyzed, this frequency is 88% (average across species). Because pressure of time would likely lead to trade-offs in time allocation and thus to a nonsatiating food consumption, these results suggest that carnivores are often released from time constraints.


Energy-time budgets Functional responses Kill rates Principle of stringency Time constraints