Date of Award

Fall 1978

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Gerald F. Levy

Committee Member

Frank P. Day

Committee Member

Joseph F. Merritt

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 D354


A study was conducted on the food habits of the black bear (Ursus americanus) in the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia. A total of four stomachs and 42 scats were analyzed. Four samples were collected from September and October of 1975, and the remainder of the samples were collected from September 1976 to February 1977. The study was conducted to obtain information vital to the management of this species in the Great Dismal Swamp. Vitis spp. was the primary food item during the fall comprising 43% of the total diet, followed by fruits of Diospyros virginiana and Asimina triloba, each of which comprised 10% of the fall diet. Other important food items were the fruits of Quercus spp., insects, fruits of Nyssa sylvatica and Aralia spinosa. It was concluded that these seven major food items in no way indicated a preference by the black bear in the Dismal Swamp but rather reflected availability.


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