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Appl Microbiol. 1963 Mar;11:136-40.

Occurrence of enterococci in animals in a wild environment.


Enterococci were obtained from the feces of 71% of 216 mammals, 86% of 70 reptiles, and 32% of 22 birds sampled in a truly wild environment, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Patterns of food dependence and also of species dependence were observed. Among the lower classes of the primarily herbivorous mammals, the enterococci occurred sporadically; however, of the six species of Sciuridae, the gray squirrel, and of four species of Cricetidae, the red-backed mouse, the enterococci appear to be natural hosts. The enterococci were not obtained from most specimens of moles, shrews, or rabbits but they were obtained from most specimens of bats and from the carnivorous mammals, such as fox, bear, raccon, skunk, and boar. Streptococcus faecalis was obtained from 12 reptiles, and a caseolytic variant was obtained from 37 specimens of the reptiles. The strongly reducing, tellurite-tolerant species, S. faecalis, its caseolytic variant, and S. faecalis var. zymogenes were isolated from 127 or 41% of 308 specimens cultured. S. faecium was recovered from 87 or 28% of the animals, chiefly from the wild boar (60 of 64 trials) and the black bear. S. zymogenes was obtained from 1 of 31 bats, 3 of 12 raccoons, and 1 of 3 owls.

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