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Foxes at your front door? Habitat selection and home range estimation of suburban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)

Kobryn, H.T.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593, Swinhoe, E.J., Bateman, P.W., Adams, P.J., Shephard, J.M. and Fleming, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 (2022) Foxes at your front door? Habitat selection and home range estimation of suburban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Urban Ecosystems .

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The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is one of the most adaptable carnivorans, thriving in cities across the globe. We used GPS-tracking of five suburban foxes across high-density residential suburbs of Perth, Western Australia to quantify (1) their habitat selection and (2) home range area. All five foxes showed statistically significant avoidance of residential locations (p < 0.001) and preference for parkland (p < 0.001), with native vegetation reserves, golf courses, and water reserves showing disproportionately greater use. Landuse category also influenced their movements, with foxes moving quickest (i.e., commuting) in proximity to roads and slowest (i.e., foraging) when they were further from roads. Three females had core home ranges (50% autocorrelated-corrected kernel density estimate; AKDEc) averaging 37 ± 20 ha or 95% AKDEc averaging 208 ± 196 ha. One male had a 95 ha core home range and 349 ha 95% AKDEc but the other male covered an area ~ 20 times this: using a 371 ha core home range and 7,368 ha 95% AKDEc. The extensive movement patterns we describe are likely to be common for urban foxes, with half of published home range estimates for urban foxes (principally based on VHF data) excluding data for ‘lost’ individuals or animals that showed ‘excursions’. It is likely that the home range estimates for these urban exploiters have therefore been grossly underestimated to date. Further application of GPS trackers that allow remote download will vastly improve our understanding of habitat preference and exploitation of resources by urban foxes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
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