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Pampas Fox - Lycalopex gymnocercus
Scalesofanubis Wrote:Pampas Fox - Lycalopex gymnocercus

Scientific classification
Species:Lycalopex gymnocercus

[Image: pampas-fox.jpg]

The pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus), also known as Azara's fox, or Azara's zorro, is a medium sized zorro, or "false" fox, native to the South American pampas. The alternative common names are references to Spanish naturalist Félix de Azara.

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The pampas fox resembles the culpeo or Andean fox in appearance and size, but has a proportionately wider snout, reddish fur on the head and neck, and a black mark on the muzzle. It has short, dense fur that is grey over most of the body, with a black line running down the back and onto the tail, and pale, almost white, underparts. The ears are triangular, broad and relatively large, and are reddish on the outer surface and white on the inner surface. The inner surfaces of the legs are similar in color to the underparts, while the outer surface is reddish on the forelimbs, and grey on the hindlimbs; the lower hindlimb also bears a distinctive black spot. Adults range from 51 to 80 centimetres (20 to 31 in) in body length, and weigh 2.4 to 8 kilograms (5.3 to 18 lb); males are approximately 10% heavier than females. In the northern part of its range, the pampas fox is more richly colored than in the southern part.

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Range and Habitat
The pampas fox can be found in northern and central Argentina, Uruguay, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. It prefers open pampas habitats, often close to agricultural land, but can also be found in montane or chaco forest, dry scrubland, and wetland habitats. It is most common below 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) elevation, but can inhabit puna grasslands up to 3,500 metres (11,500 ft). Five subspecies are currently recognised, although the geographic range of each is unclear, and the type localities of three of them lie outside the present-day range of the species. Fossils of this species are known from the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene of Argentina.

The pampas foxes mostly live a solitary life, but come together as monogamous pairs in the breeding season to raise their young. They are mainly nocturnal, becoming active at dusk, although it may also be active during the day. They den in any available cavity, including caves, hollow trees, and the burrows of viscachas or armadillos. Even when raising young together, adult foxes generally hunt alone, marking their territory by defecating at specific latrine sites.  Although there is considerable variation, the home range of a typical pampas fox has been estimated at around 260 hectares (640 acres).
Pampas foxes are more omnivorous than most other canids, and have a varied and opportunistic diet. Their primary prey consists of birds, rodents, hares, fruit, carrion, and insects, although they will also eat lizards, armadillos, snails and other invertebrates, lambs, and the eggs of ground-nesting birds. Their primary predators are pumas and domestic dogs. If a threatening or larger animal comes near it is known to play dead with its eyes closed and will stay there until the animal leaves.
Pampas foxes breed in the early spring, with the female coming into heat just once each year. After a gestation period of 55 to 60 days, the mother gives birth to a litter of up to eight kits. The young are born between September and December, and are weaned at around two months of age. Females reach sexual maturity in their first year, and animals have lived for up to 14 years in captivity. Pups will hunt with parents when they are 3 months old. The males bring food to their females who stay at the den with kits.

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The main threats to the pampas fox comes from humans hunting them for their fur, to prevent them from attacking livestock, and may be affected by the loss of its natural habitat,  although, because they remain common in most areas where it has been studied, the pampas fox is not presently considered a threatened species.

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[-] The following 1 user Likes Taipan's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
Predation on a brown brocket by pampas foxes

On 9th November 2011 at 19:41h, when driving on Provincial Road 86, an unpaved road that traverses the Mburucuyá National Park, two pampas foxes were seen in the headlights attacking an adult female 
brown brocket (also known as grey brocket or corzuela parda) that was lying on the sandy side of the road. The foxes had bitten the deer in different areas of the body, but mainly on the flanks where injuries were evident. Both the foxes and the deer looked exhausted and were gasping for breath. The deer had trouble standing, each time it tried to 
rise it fell again, managing to make only a few short jumps before falling (Figure 1). One fox grabbed the deer by the rump and started dragging it with effort toward the side of the road, which took several minutes. The other fox occasionally helped, but it was mainly engaged in biting on the ears, neck, throat, and flanks. The fox grabbed the deer several times by the neck and throat, in short bouts, for up to six seconds. 
Meanwhile, the first fox was laboriously dragging the deer off the road, which was raised by about 30cm (Figure 2). It occasionally stopped dragging the deer to bite it on the flanks and belly, tearing small pieces 
of skin or muscles, and its snout was bloody. Some 30 minutes after the initial observation, the deer could barely raise its head from the ground and had now been dragged off the road, possibly with the intention of carrying it into a wooded patch a few meters away. The observation was interrupted; when the observer passed the spot about an hour later, neither the deer nor foxes were visible.

[Image: Brown-brocket-trying-to-escape-harassmen...l-Park.png] 
Figure 1. Brown brocket trying to escape harassment of two Pampas foxes in Mburucuyá National Park, Corrientes, Argentina.

[Image: Pampas-fox-dragging-a-brown-brocket-to-a...l-Park.png]
Figure 2. Pampas fox dragging a brown brocket to a nearby forest in Mburucuyá National Park, Corrientes, Argentina.


There are no previous records of Pampas foxes attacking an adult brown brocket, although Juliá and Richard (2001) cited the capture and consumption of a three-month old fawn, and of an adult that was 
consumed after dying from other causes. 
We do not know how the foxes caught the deer, or whether it was sick or hit by a car. The deer seemed to be in good condition; it did not look weak or show other evidence of sickness. There were no outward signs that the deer had been hit by a vehicle, and its legs showed no signs of fractures; it could move them in coordination. While we cannot rule out alternative explanations, it seems remarkable that the foxes were able to catch an adult deer in good physical condition since they are fast runners and jumpers. Although relatively small (4-6kg, Lucherini et al. 2004), pampas foxes are able to dominate and drag a prey of 20-25kg (Redford and Eisenberg 1992, Emmons and Feer 1997). Pampas foxes form pairs from mating until the independence of their young, but they 
tend to be solitary hunters (Brooks 1992, Branch 1994). Other medium-sized canids such as side-striped jackals Canis adustus and black-backed jackals C. mesomelas hunt cooperatively in pairs during the breeding season, capturing prey hard to catch alone (Macdonald et al. 2010). We cannot ascertain how often pampas foxes are habitual predators of brown brocket or if this constitutes a rare and unusual event.

Pampas foxes as prey of yellow anacondas

In this note we describe predation events of adult pampas foxes by yellow anacondas Eunectes notaeus in the Iberá Provincial Reserve and the Mburucuyá National Park (Corrientes province, Argentina).


The first predation event took place on 8 October 2013 at 19:45h, during a nocturnal mammal survey in Estancia Yaguareté Corá (27º56’S, 57º00’W) in the Iberá Provincial Reserve. In the marsh vegetation at the water’s edge, a yellow anaconda was observed, wrapped around a fox. The observation was conducted by torch light. This fox was identified as a pampas fox by the colour of its back legs and tail. The fox appeared to be already dead at the time of the observation, and the snake was beginning to swallow it. Several caimans Caiman yacare were seen a short distance away but none of them approached the snake. The observation lasted 15 minutes but unfor-
tunately no photographic or video record of the event could be obtained. Some days later we received information about a similar event, which happened in Estancia San Ignacio (27º49’S, 56º50’W), located at approximately 40km of the former Estancia (M. Blanco, pers. comm.).

The second event took place on 31 March 2017 in the Mburucuyá National Park at approximately 8:00h, in a short-grass area at one side of the entrance road to the Santa María Park Ranger Department (28º02’S, 58º05’W). A yellow anaconda was observed, mid-way through the constriction process of a pampas fox which appeared to be dead (Figure 1). Two adult foxes were circling the snake and harassing it by biting its tail while they vocalized. The snake reacted with sudden movements but without releasing its 
prey (Figure 2). The foxes ran away once the snake started to swallow the fox, beginning with its head (Figure 3). This process lasted an hour, after which the snake moved slowly towards a small nearby marsh. When its body was fully extended its total length reached 3.5m.

[Image: A-35m-long-yellow-anaconda-in-the-constr...ved-by.png]
Figure 1. A 3.5m long yellow anaconda in the constriction process of a pampas fox while observed by two other foxes in the Mburucuyá National Park, Corrientes, Argentina.

[Image: While-harassed-by-one-of-the-pampas-foxe...elf-in.png]
Figure 2. While harassed by one of the pampas foxes, the anaconda begins to position itself in order to swallow the captured fox, starting with its head.

[Image: The-anaconda-has-already-swallowed-half-...ion-of.png]
Figure 3. The anaconda has already swallowed half the fox. Notice the jaws and body distension of the snake to swallow the prey.

Figure 4. The anaconda leaves the capture site after swallowing the fox completely. The swelling in the central part of the snake’s body is due to the fox it has eaten.
[-] The following 3 users Like Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu, Taipan, theGrackle
Diet of the gray fox of the Pampas (Lycalopex gymnocercus) in the province of Buenos Aires.

The diet of the Pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus) in the Province of Buenos Aires. Studies of carnivore diets provide essential information on ecosystem dynamics. The Pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus) is an opportunistic carnivore. From the analysis of stomach content of 70 foxes we described the diet of L. gymnocercus and compared males and females in two rural areas in Buenos Aires Province, one characterized by Espinal habitat (Villarino) and the other by Pampas grassland (Azul). Diet was described using the following indices: relative frequency, frequency of occurrence, biomass contribution and relative abundance. Sexes and locations were compared with indices of diversity and dietary overlap. Our results support the hypothesis of an opportunistic diet where murine rodents were the most frequent item, while the main biomass contribution corresponded to caviomorphs, lagomorphs and carrion. These results suggest that L. gymnocercus is well adapted to rural areas with high levels of disturbance. We recorded a high dietary overlap between males and females without significant differences in prey diversity. Finally, a greater dietary diversity was observed in the Espinal, but dietary overlap was high among foxes from both regions, suggesting incipient homogenization between ecoregions due to increased human activities in these environments.

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[-] The following 2 users Like Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu, theGrackle

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