Have you ever wondered if foxes eat voles? If you have, you’re not alone!
Small rodents known as voles have a global presence, while foxes are recognized predators across various ecosystems.
It’s natural to be curious about whether or not they interact with each other, and today we’re going to explore this topic in more detail.
So, grab a snack, settle in, and get ready to learn about the relationship between foxes and voles!
Foxes as Predators
Foxes are known for being opportunistic omnivorous predators and are often found in rural and urban environments. They typically feed on small mammals such as rats, mice, voles, and the occasional squirrel.
Bank and field voles are the most common prey items consumed by foxes, although they’ll also take mice and rats. Observations show that fox cubs play with dead rats, which are more likely to come across because of their restricted range within their den.
Insects such as shrews and moles are occasionally consumed when other preferred foods are scarce, but they are typically avoided due to their distasteful scent glands.
Foxes are not significant predators of hedgehogs, although some remains have been found in their scat.
Overall, foxes are important in controlling rodent populations in urban and rural environments.
Voles as Prey
Foxes are known to be opportunistic omnivorous predators that feed on various prey, including small mammals.
Foxes have earned a reputation for being opportunistic, omnivorous predators. In the wild, they primarily feed on small mammals, such as rats, mice, voles, and the occasional squirrel, and lagomorphs like rabbits and hares—generally make up around half of a fox’s diet in rural areas.
Fox cubs tackle brown rats more often than adults as they are some of the first mammals they encounter when confined to their den triggering their prey drive.
Nonetheless, studies suggest that foxes are highly selective predators and tend to show preferences for certain prey species.
Fox Habits and Behaviors
Foxes are highly opportunistic predators, with a diet that consists of small mammals, birds, fish, insects, earthworms, and berries. Voles and rodents are frequent food sources among small mammals, particularly in rural areas.
Field voles, bank voles, rats, and mice are small mammals commonly eaten by foxes.
While fox cubs tend to prey more on brown rats, adult foxes prefer field voles over bank and wood mice.
However, foxes aren’t known for consuming moles and shrews, as these creatures produce an oily secretion with a musky odor that is likely distasteful to predators. Hedgehogs are another item that occasionally turns up in fox scat, although the significance of foxes as predators of these spiny creatures is still a matter of debate.
Urban foxes have a more varied diet and live off whatever is available, including household waste.
Small Mammals in Fox Diet
Foxes are known for their opportunistic omnivorous predatory behavior. However, their diet predominantly consists of small mammals such as rodents, particularly bank and field voles.
Brown rats and mice are also common prey, especially in urban areas. Fox cubs are likely to tackle brown rats more often than adults because they encounter these rodents early during their confinement to the earth.
While captive vixens have shown a preference for field voles, wild rodents like hamsters, gerbils, harvest mice, and deer mice are also preyed upon by foxes. Hedgehogs remain a topic of debate as their remains occasionally turn up in fox scat.
Foxes do not prefer shrews and moles as their scent glands produce distasteful and musky-odored secretions, causing them to be unintentional victims of the fox’s hunting method.