FEEDING HABIT OF DESERT FOX (VULPES VULPES PUSILLA) IN THE DESERT NATIONAL PARK OF RAJASTHAN, INDIA

FEEDING HABIT OF DESERT FOX (VULPES VULPES PUSILLA) IN THE DESERT NATIONAL PARK OF RAJASTHAN, INDIA

R. Jaipal
Department of Zoology, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.
[E-mail: brjaipal.jnvu@gmail.com]
Received: 01-05-2015 Revised: 02-06-2015 Accepted: 08-07-2015
Abstract:
Desert fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) is distributed in western desert areas of Indian subcontinent. It is listed with schedule-II of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. In recent decades, it was a very common animal in the desert but now its number has declined to an alarming state. This omnivorous animal feeds upon insects, scorpion, lizards, snakes, birds, eggs, rodents, seeds and fruits of Ziziphus nummularia, Salvadora persica, Prosopis cineraria, Capparis decidua, Cucumis melo, Citrullus lanatus, Grewia tenax etc. A study was conducted on its feeding behavior using scat analysis technique during 2008-2012. A total of 100 scat samples were collected from three study areas at Desert National Park (Sanctuary) i.e. Sudasari, Khuri and Kanoi. These samples were analyzed using direct observation technique in laboratory. About 58% parts were found to be plant material which included seeds, grasses, leaves, seeds of fruits of Ziziphus nummularia, Salvadora persica, Prosopis cineraria, Capparis decidua, and Prosopis juliflora. In summers the plant contents were higher than the winters. 49% scat samples were found to contain hairs followed by 27% containing feathers of birds and 17% with bones of mammals, birds and reptiles, whereas, 7% was found containing romance of Arthropods. A need has been concluded for conserving this endangered species by checking its habitat loss so that ecobalance of prey-predator relationship would be maintained in the desert

Keywords: Vulpes vulpes pusilla, Indian subcontinent, schedule-II, omnivorous, prey-predator

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