Seasonal diet and numbers of prey consumed by Cape foxes Vulpes chama in South Africa
Klare U., Kamler JF., Macdonald DW.
The Cape fox Vulpes chama is one of the least studied Vulpes species, and little is known about their diet. By analyzing contents of scats, we determined the seasonal diet of Cape foxes on Benfontein Game Farm (BGF) in South Africa, and determined the biomass and number of rodents consumed. We also determined the diet of Cape foxes on a nearby private livestock ranch (PR) in winter when sheep were lambing. On BGF, murids were the dominant food item, and comprised 44-90% of the biomass consumed across seasons. Other major food items that were seasonally important were leporids and berries. Although arthropods were frequently consumed, they were negligible in terms of biomass consumed. On PR, sheep were found in 19% of scats, but in relatively low amounts per scat, indicating sheep were likely scavenged rather than predated upon. On BGF, the estimated annual consumption was 3,861 rodent/fox, or about 11 rodent/day/fox. Our results indicate Cape foxes feed primarily on small rodents, and therefore Cape foxes might be beneficial to livestock and game farm owners in southern Africa. © 2014 The Authors. This is an Open Access article Subject Editor: Andreas Zedrosser.