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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Predation processes: behavioural interactions between red fox and roe deer during the fawning season

Jarnemo, A


Predation by red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the most important mortality cause for neonatal roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in Scandinavia. With the objective of investigating how the fox finds fawns and how antipredatory behaviour of roe deer females influences choice of hunting method, I analysed observations of interactions between red fox and roe deer females. The observations were collected over 14 years in a mixed forest/agricultural landscape in Sweden. Of 49 fox-doe encounters, the doe attacked the fox in 59%. In 90% of these attacks the fox was successfully deterred. In two observations a doe saved a fawn attacked by a fox. Two hunting methods used by the fox were discerned. In 28 cases foxes searched the ground, and in 18 cases they surveyed open areas, often from a forest edge. The latter behaviour seemed more directed at fawns and was seen leading to a capture attempt. Searching seemed less efficient and also difficult to conduct due to the aggressiveness of does. A surveying sit-and-wait type of hunting method thus appeared as the most successful. The possibility to use this method could explain why roe deer fawns are more vulnerable to fox predation in open habitats

Published in

Journal of Ethology
2004, Volume: 22, number: 2, pages: 167-173

      SLU Authors

    • Jarnemo, Anders

      • 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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