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Ranging behaviour of red foxes during the mating and breeding seasons

Ranging behaviour of red foxes during the mating and breeding seasons

Ethology Ecology and Evolution 8(1): 57-65

Ranging behaviour (home range size, core area size, activity levels) of four red foxes (Vulpes vulpes; three males and one female) was studied by radio-tracking in a rural area of Central Italy during the mating and breeding seasons (January to May). Home range size was equal or smaller than in other areas, ranging from 47 to 320 ha (kernel analysis) or from 57 to 394 ha (minimum convex polygon), with the exception of a yearling male, who ranged over a very large area (2307 ha). Core areas ranged from 11 to 29 ha. Foxes were most active between 19:00 and 00:00 hr, then activity decreased slowly until sunrise. Foxes used about 25% of their range each night, with individually different strategies: the two resident males greatly increased their range in the second half of female fertile period, whereas the nomadic male restricted his large range during the peak of matings. Barking bouts (indices of agonistic and contact behaviour) were most common after median ovulation date. The female decreased her range at the time of births. The range expansion by males during the mating season, also reported by previous studies, was limited to the second half of the females' fertile period. Males could therefore maximise individual reproductive success by roaming only after the oestrus of their mate. Because of the small number of foxes followed, these results should be verified in other studies.

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Accession: 009296332

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DOI: 10.1080/08927014.1996.9522935

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