The First Ever Video Documentation Of A Fox Fishing For Food
The fox froze to the spot. Carp writhed in the shallows of the reservoir, only a few inches from his feet, as they frantically tried to spawn. The fox made a rapid leap into the water via its snout and came up with a huge, squirming carp in its jaws.
Two Spanish researchers watched as a male red fox stalked and captured 10 carp over the course of several hours in March 2016.
In a paper published in the journal Ecology on August 18th, researchers detailed what they believe to be the first ever instance of a fox fishing for food. With this new information, she now knows that the red fox is the third canid (after wolves and dogs) to hunt fish.
Ecologists Jorge Tobajas of the University of Cordoba and Francisco Diaz Ruiz of the University of Malaga discovered a hunting fox while doing research for a separate study.
The fox was the first animal to attract their attention since it stayed still when the researchers approached. In order to take advantage of the situation, Tobajas and Diaz Ruiz have decided to conceal themselves and observe the fox's behavior. Tobajas said:
The most surprising thing was to see the fox catching so many carps without making any mistakes. This made us realize it’s definitely not the first time he’s done this.
In March of 2016, red foxes were seen in Spain catching carp in the spring. One can argue that this is the first instance of fox hunting ever documented. Only foxes and wolves remain as canine fish-hunters.
The fox did not immediately eat all of the fish it caught; instead, it concealed the majority of them and seemed to share at least one with a female fox, perhaps its partner.
There have been cases when fish bones have been discovered in fox skeletons. However, researchers were unsure as to whether or not the foxes were really catching the fish or whether they were merely scavenging for dead fish.
Thomas Gabel, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis who did not take part in the study, thinks that the results "confirm" that some foxes "forage" for food. Gable adds:
I would be shocked if this was the only fox that learned how to hunt.
In North America, the only other canids known to fish are the wolves that live on the Pacific coast and in Minnesota. The fact that two canid species from different continents have an interest in fishing suggests that this habit may be more widespread than was previously thought.
When it comes to animals that are quite close to people, like the fishing fox, there is still a lot that scientists don't know, as Tobajas explains. It's safe to say that you probably don't like red foxes very much, despite the fact that they're everywhere.
Foxes are considered a nuisance in many areas due to their tendency to attack domestic animals and cattle. This kind of evidence, however, demonstrates the animal's amazing intelligence.