22 November 2014

The Elusive Fox

There is one species that has been on my camera trap wish list for years, the Cape Fox.

Wherever I went I'll heard stories about Cape Foxes being seen in the area "only a year or two ago". I would get my hopes up, but nothing ever showed up on the camera traps. The closest I ever got was this photograph from years back at Tygerberg.

Possible Cape Fox (Silwervos - Vulpes chama) at Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Unfortunately this was the only photograph I got and I'm not confident enough to be 100% sure whether it is a Cape Fox or not. Initially I leaned towards Bat-Eared Fox (which is in fact not a true fox). I did a blog post about it which can be seen over here. Since then I've changed my mind and am now leaning towards it being a Cape Fox, but I just can't be sure.

When I got to Koeberg the reserve manager mentioned that she saw a small fox-like animal recently. I've heard this sort of story before and didn't get my hopes up too much, but at least there was a chance.

Then, a few months later it happened!

Cape Fox at Koeberg Nature Reserve


It isn't the most awesome photo ever, but at least this time I can be sure it is a Cape Fox. I really wanted a better photograph. Over the next few months I kept an eye open for signs, and saw plenty of tracks, sometimes even fairly close to where I had a camera trap. However, after a year of camera trapping at Koeberg I only camera trapped the Cape Fox this one time.

The Bushnell Trophy Cam was set to take three photos per trigger. Below is a cropped version of the last photograph in the series.

Heading straight towards the camera trap

What makes the Cape Fox interesting is that it is the only true Fox (genus Vulpes) found in Southern Africa.

The Cape Fox is on the smallish side, measuring only 30cm at the shoulders and weighing about 3kg. Like most members of the dog family they tend to mate for life.

They will usually forage alone and both parents care for the young. The male will bring food to the female as well for the first few weeks after the pups are born.

Although the fox is still elusive, at least I now know it can be done :)

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! Getting a new species, especially a hard-to-get one, remains one of the great rewards of camera trapping. Your species list has to be up there in numbers now.