Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 408

Full Length Research Paper

Opportunistic animal’s diet depend on prey availability: spring dietary composition of the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Nepal

Achyut Aryal1,2, S. Sathyakumar3 and Brigitte Kreigenhofer1
1Ecology and Conservation Group, Institute of Natural Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand. 2The Biodiversity Research and Training Forum, Nepal. 3Wildlife Institute of India, India.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 02 March 2010
  •  Published: 30 April 2010


The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a least concerned omnivore, distributed widely between 2,500m and 4,500m in different protected areas of Nepal. We investigated the spring feeding habits of the red fox in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve of Nepal. Livestock depredation by red fox, wolf and leopard, and the consequently retaliatory killings of these carnivores by local livestock herders, is becoming a serious issue for the conservation of these carnivores. At the same time, it leads to an increase in the number of prey animals by reducing the predators. Due to this situation, red fox change their dietary preference towards pika (Ochotona roylei), wild boar (Sus scrofa), and other ungulates. However, its main diet consists of insects (Coleoptera and Orthoptera)in other parts of its range. There is no significant difference (χ2 = 0.86, df = 12, p > 0.05) in the frequency of occurrence of different prey species in the scats of red foxes. The pika (Ochotona roylei) made up 30% of the scats of  fox, making it the most abundant species in their diet.


Keys words: Omnivores, diet, Vulpes vulpes, prey, predators.