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Thread: foxes taking roe fawns

  1. #1

    foxes taking roe fawns

    I'd be very interested to hear people's thoughts on this:

    How much of a threat do people think foxes are to roe deer fawns?

    I have to admit that until recently, I hadn't thought of them as much of a threat at all, but then came across a Scandinavian study that found that foxes were taking about 40% of fawns under 40 days old.


  2. #2
    I don't see why not if they take lambs and hares regularly but to be honest I had never even thought about it before

  3. #3
    They certainly do take them. I've seen it happen a couple of times.

    The does can get extremely aggressive towards foxes when they have new kids, I think that speaks for itself.

  4. #4
    Came across a fox den a good few years ago while out with Belgian clients. We found 14 seperate remains of roe calves there. One of the clients took photo's and wrote an article for their hunting press as it was thought, by their conservationists ,that foxes did not take calves. Those were those that we found. How many more were there ?? John
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  5. #5
    Thats amazing, have you got a link to that study? could be a useful one for future 'discussions'

  6. #6
    I too have seen them try and also the spirited fight the Doe puts up to defend them. I watched one fox circle the Doe with twins for 20 minutes making repeated efforts to grab a kid and be chased away each time by a stamping mother. David

  7. #7
    The reference is Jarnemo et al. 2004 Can. J. Zool 82:416-422.

    I can't link the whole paper, but here is the abstract:

    Abstract: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 high-est 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.

  8. #8
    Another one which may be of interest: Jarnemo 2004 Predation processes: behavioural interactions between red fox and roe deer during the fawning season. J. of Ethology 22:167-173.

    Abstract: 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.

  9. #9
    Back in the 80s in Sweden there was an outbreak of scab in the fox population causing the fox population to crash. As the fox declined the roe deer population rose to record levels.
    Now the fox is back to good numbers and the roe population has declined. Still plenty of roe about though.

  10. #10
    YES they do without a shadow of a doubt.
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