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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Predation by red fox on European roe deer fawns in relation to age, sex, and birth date

Jarnemo A, Liberg O, Lockowandt S, Olsson A, Wahlstrom K


Mortality in radio-marked European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus (Linnaeus, 1758)) neonates was studied during 14 years in a mixed forest-agricultural landscape in Sweden. A total of 233 fawns were marked. Births were synchronized, with 79% occurring during 25 days and a peak between 25 May and 7 June encompassing 62% of the births. Overall mortality was 42%, but in three single years, it exceeded 85%. Predation by red fox (Vulpes vulpes Desmarest, 1820) accounted for 81% of total mortality. The effects of age, sex, and time of birth on the vulnerability to predation were analysed. Fawns born just after the birth peak had the lowest predation risk. Predation rate was highest for the fawns that had the very earliest or the very latest birth dates. Predation thereby seems to strengthen the birth synchrony in roe deer. Contrary to earlier published findings, there was no difference in susceptibility to predation between the sexes. Also differing from earlier findings was that predation rate was highest during the first week of life and declined thereafter almost linearly. The majority of the fawns (85%) were killed before 30 days of age and 98% before 40 days. Different types of landscapes may explain the discrepancies between our study and earlier findings

Published in

Canadian Journal of Zoology
2004, Volume: 82, number: 3, pages: 416-422

      SLU Authors

    • Jarnemo, Anders

      • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Liberg, Olof

        • Department of Conservation Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

      Publication identifier


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