We characterized the diet of the Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis) during the breeding season in a semi-desert region of Western India. Diet was estimated using scat analysis. We used Index of Relative Importance (IRI) to determine the contribution of prey items in the diet of the Indian fox. Indian foxes were observed to feed on a wide variety of prey items. Arthropods were the most frequently occurring prey in their diet. IRI scores were highest for the group Coleoptera and Orthoptera followed by rodents, termites, Ziziphus fruits and spiny tailed lizards (Uromastyx hardwickii). IRI scores for rodents were higher for pups, differing significantly from proportions present in adult diet, thus indicating that they are crucial food items for the young ones. Prey proportions in the fox diet differed between the two habitats in the study area (grassland and scrubland). Our data suggest that the Indian fox is essentially an omnivore showing similar diet (in terms of high incidence of arthropods) to foxes inhabiting arid and semi-arid regions. The opportunistic and generalist strategy has probably helped the species to survive in varied habitats across the Indian subcontinent.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology