Sharing meals: predation on Australian mammals by the introduced European red fox compounds and complements predation by feral cats

Date: 19, Aug, 2021
Author(s):   Stobo-Wilson, A.M., Murphy, B.P., Crawford, H.M., Dawson, S.J., Dickman, C.R., Doherty, T.S., Fleming, P.A., Gentle, M, Legge, S.M., Newsome, T.M., Palmer, R., Rees M., Ritchie, E., Speed, J., Stuart, J.-M, Thompson, E., Turpin J, Woinarski, J.C.Z.J
Publisher: Biological Conservation

This study reported on mammals consumed by foxes in Australia, based on collation and analysis of contents from about 50,000 fox dietary samples. We recorded consumption by foxes of 114 species of Australian land mammal (40% of extant species), fewer than consumed by cats (173 species). Foxes are known to consume 42 threatened mammal species (50% of Australia’s threatened land mammals and 66% of those within the fox’s Australian range). Reflecting the importance of mammals in their diet, foxes are known to consume a far higher proportion of Australian mammal species (40%) than of Australian birds (24%) and reptiles (16%). Both foxes and cats were most likely to consume medium-sized mammals, with the likelihood of predation by foxes peaking for mammals of ca. 280 g and by cats at ca. 130 g. For non-flying mammals, threatened species had a higher relative likelihood of predation by foxes than non-threatened species.