Caching of baits by the red fox (Vulpes vulpes): management implication for fox control on semi-urban Phillip Island

The relative palatability and incidence of caching for two bait types by the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) was compared in the field. The baits were the two principal types used in Victoria; deep-fried beef liver (DFL) and Foxoff’. The trials consisted of a series of free-choice field trials with wild foxes. Radio transmitters inserted into the baits were used to determine whether a bait was eaten or cached. The distance to which baits were taken before being eaten or cached was examined, as was the rate of uptake for the two baits by using a clock module that recorded the precise time a bait was taken. Although the rate of uptake for the two baits was equal, DFL was preferentially eaten and Foxoff was cached more often. Most baits were taken 10-50 m away before being eaten or cached, but some baits were taken up to 806 m. The data suggests that the distance restrictions for laying baits for fox control (from houses, boundary fences and water) should be extended, especially in highly populated areas. A highly palatable bait type will reduce the incidence of caching and increase the likelihood of rapid consumption. Consequently, the risk to non-target wildlife and domestic animals will be reduced. It is an absolute necessity to minimise non-target impacts in the control of foxes in populated places like Phillip Island if community support is to be maintained.

Author van Polanen Petel, A.M. and Marks, C.A.
Date null
Year 2001
Secondary title 12th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Conference Location
Publisher Department of Natural Resources and Environment, V
Pages 317-321
Notes Notes
Control method Baiting
Region VIC