Gray foxes coordinate attack on turkeys

This is a remarkable bit of trail camera footage from Putnam County, Florida.

Here we have two gray foxes coordinating an attack on a flock of Osceola turkeys. They are engaging in behavior I’d expect more from wolves or coyotes.  One fox harries the birds, while the other sneaks around from behind.

Although the foxes don’t catch a turkey that day, they might sometimes succeed if they keep doing this behavior.

I’ve read old accounts of gray foxes working together to hunt rabbits, but I put them away as hearsay.

After seeing this footage, I am convinced they do sometimes engage in cooperative hunting.

Gray foxes, especially in Florida, aren’t that big, and a turkey is a fighting dinosaur of a chicken. My guess is they aren’t regularly preying on mature turkeys, but they do engage in this sort of behavior to test them in much the same way wolves test elk or caribou.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this footage, but it is pretty remarkable.

I’ve always admired the gray fox. It’s a truly unique American canid, for it has no Old World congeners.

They and turkeys have been interacting for millions of years in the Southeast and Southwest, a dance far more ancient than wolf and bison in Yellowstone. And certainly far more ancient than man versus beast on this continent.

And this drama happened in the third most populous state in the union, not in some far wilderness of the West. Indeed, just a stone’s throw from the first permanent European settlement in North America.

 

 

Natural History

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What should you do if you see an animal out in the cold?

What should you do if you see an animal out in the cold? As animal lovers, one of the most heartbreaking things to see is a helpless animal trapped in an unsafe situation. There has been growing awareness and media attention to dogs, in particular, left in vehicles in hot weather. There doesn’t seem to

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Shelter Sunday: Chica / Loving Companions Animal Rescue / North Pole, AK

Meet Chica! Chica, a young Husky mix, had her babies and was an excellent mother. Now she’s ready to find a home of her own. She’s a beautiful husky, very shy and sweet, just overall a beautiful soul. She is house trained and good with other dogs and children. She is currently in the care … Continue reading Shelter Sunday: Chica / Loving Companions Animal Rescue / North Pole, AK


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Which Dog Breeds Need the Longest Dog Walks?

How long should you walk your dog every day? That’s a question that has a lot of variables–your dog’s age and condition, the outdoor temperature and, of course, your dog’s…



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DogTipper

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Remember Me Thursday Honors Shelter Pets–Don’t Miss #RememberMeThursday Contest

“All of the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” A time to take the words of Saint Francis of Assisi to heart, Remember Me Thursday is a day to light the…



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9 Boho Dresses I Love for Fall

9 Boho Dresses I Love for Fall
1. Rose Print Maxi Dress ($ 168)   |    2. Black Tiered Midi Dress ($ 118)   |   3. Floral Babydoll Dress ($ 148)   |   4. Brown Floral Maxi Dress ($ 168)   |   5. Navy Floral Maxi Dress ($ 168)  |   6. Pink Velvet Midi Dress ($ 198)   |   7. Black and White Floral Tiered Maxi ($ 228)   |   8. Corduroy Tiered Midi Dress ($ 168)   |   9. Wine Tunic Dress ($ 198)

I have sort of a summer uniform that consists of one of two looks. The first is cut off denim shorts, a band tee or tank, and a kimono. The other is one of a dozen floral boho dresses. (I joke to my other 40-something friends that I dress like a 22 year old going to Coachella. Age is just a number and all that, right?) Anyway, once fall arrives, I usually get sad, because my summer dresses become too lightweight for the weather, and all of my fall dresses are solid and just, well, uninspiring. So this fall, I decided I’m going to treat myself to a nice, high quality autumn dress or two that will specifically work for the cooler months. And these are some of my favorites. I’m especially leaving toward #1 or #3. I’ll share what I end up getting over in my Instagram Stories soon.

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So does the maned wolf break the “costs of carnivory” paradigm?

In recent post I wrote about the new research regarding the thylacine’s size, I mentioned that maned wolves might violated the “costs of carnivory” rule, which states that predatory mammals that weigh more than 21 kilograms (46 pounds) must haunt larger prey sources to survive.

Maned wolves do exceed this size, but their diet does not consist of large prey. They are not a threat to ungulate livestock. They take only small prey, such as rabbits, rodents, and small birds. They could be a threat to chickens and other poultry, but they aren’t cattle killers.

On a superficial reading of their ecology and diet, one would assume they would break this 21 kilogram rule. The largest ones do get to around 23 kilograms, and if they are that large, then they surely break this “costs of carnivory” rule.

But they don’t.

The reason is they have a most unusual diet for a canid.  Between 40 and 90 percent of their diet can consist of a single fruit called a lobeira or “wolf apple.” The average diet of a maned wolf is around 50 percent vegetable matter, which means they aren’t as bound by the rules of carnivorous diets as other mammalian predators are.

The maned wolf first appeared in the fossil record in what is today the Desert Southwest what is called the Blancan faunal age (late Pilocene to early Pleistocene).

It entered South America, along with a whole host of other canids, and it evolved to a specialist niche as a grassland predator. Many species of similar-sized dog were also diversifying in South America, it is likely that it evolved its unusual diet as a way of avoiding competition with more carnivorous canids.

So vegetarian are maned wolves that when fed a typical wild carnivoran diet in zoos, they often develop bladder stones. Their kidneys cannot absorb a particular amino acid called cystine, and the excess cystine turns into stones.

Most mid-sized canids are true generalists in their diets. The exceptions are the maned and Ethiopian wolves. The Ethiopian wolf runs between 14-19 kilograms, so its rodent specialized diet does not violate the rule.

But the maned wolf’s heavily frugivorous almost takes them out of the predator guild entirely.  They are as almost omnivorous as most bears are, and all extant bear species exceed 21 kilograms at maturity.

So maned wolves don’t violate the costs of carnivory rule. They do so, because they are far less predatory than virtually any other dog species. They are certainly less predatory that other dogs of their size.

T

Natural History

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Live Near Wildfires? Vet Advice on Keeping Your Dog Safe

Historic wildfires have ravaged California in recent weeks, leaving an astonishing 3.3 million acres burned in less than a month. Across California, it is estimated that 29 major wildfires are still…



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