Fox populations: North Africa & Middle East

An image of a desertic landscape
Middle East landscape

In the region of north Africa and the Middle East there are five species of foxes (Blanford's fox, fennec fox, pale fox, red fox and Rüppell's fox), of which the red fox is the largest. Except for the driest regions, such as central parts of deserts, red foxes are found throughout the Arabian peninsula, where they are much smaller (average weight 3.1 kg) than their conspecifics further north (6.7 kg on average in England).

Diet and territoriality

A study of foxes in this region found that they ate plenty of insects but that they also widely used refuse dumps and dairy farm for foraging. The high concentration of food found in human-related environments caused the breakdown of their conventional territorial behaviour (add link) and Arabian foxes showed no territoriality, something also observed in Japan.

Translocations

In Mahazat as-Sayd, a protected area in central Saudi Arabia, researchers translocated red foxes, Rüppell's foxes, wild cats, feral cats and Sand cats to help the reintroduction of the vulnerable houbara bustard (a large bird). The translocation distances varied between 15 and over 150 kilometres and both species of foxes returned to the points of capture if they were translocated up to 150 kilometres.

Explore the menu on the left to find out more about foxes in different regions. If you want more specific information on foxes in certain regions, please click on your region of interest and you will find links to other websites.

References

  • Lenain, D.M. & Warrington, S. (2001) Is translocation an effective tool to remove predatory foxes from a desert protected area? Journal of Arid Environments 48, 205-209.
  • Macdonald, D.W., Courtenay, O., Forbes, S. & Mathews, F. (1999) The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Saudi Arabia: loose-knit groupings in the absence of territoriality. Journal of Zoology 249, 383-391.