Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Ecology of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in an agricultural landscape. 2. Home range and movements

Andrew Carter A , Gary W. Luck A C and Simon P. McDonald B

A Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

B Spatial Data Analysis Network, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: galuck@csu.edu.au

Australian Mammalogy 34(2) 175-187 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AM11041
Submitted: 17 October 2011  Accepted: 16 December 2011   Published: 16 July 2012

Abstract

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a major predator of Australian wildlife and livestock, but relatively few data exist on fox home-range size and movements in agricultural landscapes. We used radio-telemetry to measure variability in fox home-range size and overlap, and to quantify nightly movements in farmland in south-eastern Australia. Home-range estimates were calculated using the Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP) and Kernel Contours methods. Fourteen foxes were radio-tracked, with home-range size varying from 287 to 3574 ha (mean = 1177 ha, ±920 ha (s.d.), n = 10 foxes) based on the 100% MCP and 151–3196 ha (mean = 639 ha, ± 930 ha (s.d.), n = 10 foxes) based on 95% Kernel. Home-range overlap was greater between subadults than adult foxes; especially at the core home-range level where adult home ranges were virtually exclusive. The average (minimum) area covered by adult foxes during a 12-h nightly period was 383 ha (±347 ha (s.d.), range = 136–1446 ha, n = 4 foxes). The minimum (straight-line) distance travelled by adult foxes during a night was 4.8–16 km (mean = 9.4 km, ± 3.7 km (s.d.), n = 4 foxes). Through continuous radio-tracking, we found that foxes habitually travel over the same ground when moving between foci of interest. Our results improve understanding of fox ranging behaviour in the agricultural landscapes of southern Australia.

Additional keywords: home-range overlap, nightly movements, radio-tracking, ranging behaviour, telemetry.


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