Food Availability and Food Hoarding Behaviour by Red and Arctic Foxes

  • B.O. Sklepkovych
  • W.A. Montevecchi
Keywords: arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, behaviour, caching, food, hoarding, predation, red fox, Vulpes vulpes, seabirds


Both red and arctic foxes cache food. The present and previous studies have documented scatter hoarding (hiding single or small numbers of prey at dispersed sites) and larder hoarding (hiding many prey at or near den sites) by both species. Red foxes resident on an island with a large seabird community in Newfoundland, where food is superabundant in summer and scarce during winter, made large larder hoards over an eight-year period. Scat analyses revealed that hoarded prey were heavily utilized during winter. An arctic fox encountered on an offshore seabird island hoarded seabirds in larders. For both species, larder hoarding is associated with a superabundance of prey and appears to represent a flexible response to environmental conditions.