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The Only Canids Known to Fish

For the first time, researchers observed a fox fishing for food. After seeing the red fox, they joined the group of land mammals that also hunt for fish.

A male red fox was seen fishing in Spain in March 2016. The researchers that captured the moment were Jorge Tobajas and Fransisco Diaz. The fox raised many questions for researchers, such as, are there other foxes that know or have learned to fish by watching other foxes?

When Jorge and Francisco were watching the red fox by the reservoir’s shore, it suddenly went nose first into the water and came out with a large carp. This canid hunted one carp after another and eventually caught ten after a few hours. While hunting, the fox made no mistakes and hid most of his catch but shared carps with a female fox.

The fox was peculiar from others because it did not run when it saw Jorge and Francisco. This is atypical behavior as foxes usually runs away when they encounter humans or predators. When this happened, it confused Jorge and Francisco which led them to follow and observe the fox.

Before the fox was seen fishing, there were already fish remains seen in the scat of the fox. With this information alone, it was hard to say whether the fox hunted or if it was simply eating a dead fish.

Two canid species living in separate areas opens the idea of this behavior being more common than previously thought. Now that fox hunt, they join wolves as the only canids known to hunt for fish. Wolves that live in the Pacific coast of North America and in Minnesota are the most frequent wolves to hunt for carps.

This recent discovery of foxes fishing is an example of how much humans do not know about the natural world, including researchers who study them. “We have been studying this species for years, but we never expected something like this,” Jorge said. This is an example of how much more there is to discover about nature and the creatures living in this world.

[Source: Science news.org]

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