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The breeding behaviour and social dynamics of a free-ranging group of hoary foxes Pseudalopex vetulus were studied in the central cerrado (savannah) region of Brazil. The average adult size was 3.42 kg [95% confidence limits (CL): 2.92-3.91 kg]. The breeding pair occupied overlapping home ranges of 420-456 ha, where they reared a single litter of five offspring (M:F: 3:2) in 12 months. There were no additional adult group members and all offspring dispersed when c. 10 months old, at least three of which (both sexes) established a home range adjacent to the natal territory. The proportion of time invested in rearing offspring by the breeding female declined significantly (33-2%) with increasing offspring age (pre-weaning to offspring independence), in contrast to that of the breeding male, which was relatively constant (17-29%); the male acted as a chaperone to foraging offspring, mostly in the absence of the breeding female. Hoary fox diet comprised predominantly of insects, particularly termites and dung beetles, none of which was sufficiently bulky to make carriage to the cubs energetically efficient. © 2005 The Zoological Society of London.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Zoology

Publication Date





45 - 54