Activity patterns and interactions of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Oxford city

Authors

  • C. P. Doncaster,

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *

      School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Bassett Crescent East, Southampton S016 7PX

  • D. W. Macdonald

    1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The activity patterns of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) living and breeding in urban areas of Oxford, and the interactions between individuals, were analysed from detailed radio-tracking data on 17 adults. Foxes were nocturnal and active during the night for a mean of 6h 52min min, irrespective of the time of year. The number of active/resting periods increased in autumn and winter, and in winter and spring the night was characteristically divided into several short cycles of activity of 2–2 1/2 h each, interspersed with similar periods of rest. The foxes occupied mutually exclusive group ranges and group members remained within 50m of each other for up to one-third of the time spent active at night. The implications of fox spatial relationships for rabies transmission are discussed.

Ancillary