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Feeding Ecology of Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the City of Oxford, England

C. P. Doncaster , C. R. Dickman , D. W. Macdonald
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1382166 188-194 First published online: 21 May 1990


The diet of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) inhabiting the city of Oxford, England, was analyzed from 1,939 feces collected October 1980–February 1984. The dry weight of undigested remains comprised scavenged food (37%), earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris, 27%), mammals (16%), fruits (9%), birds (8%), other invertebrates (2%), and domestic stock (1%). No single category of food occurred in more than 50% of the samples. Eighty-one types of food were indentified, including five orders of birds, 14 species of small mammals, and 14 species of fruits. The composition of the diet varied monthly and seasonally. Small mammals peaked in late winter, lagomorphs in April, and birds in June; fruits constituted a large proportion of the diet in autumn. Occurrence in feces of fruits, Passeriformes, Coleoptera, and invertebrate larvae correlated strongly with seasonal variations in indices of the abundance of these prey, suggesting that they were taken in proportion to their availability. Columbiformes, lagomorphs, and rodents showed no such direct relationship, indicating that foxes selected for or against these foods in some way not directly related to their abundances as censused.

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