Distribution, den characteristics and diet of the Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis (Mammalia: Canidae) in Karnataka, India: preliminary observations

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H.N. Kumara
M. Singh


The Indian Fox Vulpes bengalensis inhabits relatively dry areas with scrub thorn forests, deciduous forests, short grasslands and marginal croplands. Since it is a widely distributed species, especially in the dry tracts, very little attention has been paid to it by researchers and wildlife managers. We conducted an extensive survey in the south Indian state of Karnataka to determine the conservation status of the Indian Fox. We also carried out a more detailed observation in a small region called “Jayamangali Blackbuck Block†(JBB) and surrounding private lands to study the den site characteristics of the species. Except for a few districts in the Western Ghats and the west coastal region, the fox was present throughout Karnataka. Relatively higher encounter rates were observed in regions with extensive grasslands. We located 52 dens during the study in JBB which provide a minimum of 12dens/km2 with 1.33/km2 active dens. Circumference of den sites were smaller in JBB than in the adjoining private lands indicating that foxes frequently shifted dens in this area. The number of openings and active openings increased as the circumference of the den site increased. Fecal analysis revealed remains of certain species of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, with arthropods as the major food items of the fox.

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