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    Vegetative characteristics of swift fox (Vulpes velox) denning and foraging habitats were studied in southwestern South Dakota. We followed 14 radio-collared foxes over a two-year period and identified 17 den sites and 82 foraging sites. Height-density of vegetation (visual obstruction reading, VOR) was determined on each den and foraging site and on 81 randomly selected sites. Total vegetation VOR was higher (p=0.08) at den sites than on randomly selected sites (11.7±1.4 and 9.5±0.6cm (SE), respectively). Swift foxes used foraging areas with vegetation greater VOR (p=0.01) than that found on randomly selected sites (11.9±0.7 and 9.5±0.6 cm, respectively). Canopy cover for seven major plant species on foraging sites was different than on den sites (p=0.055) but random sites were not different from either foraging or den sites. While previous studies have described swift fox macrohabitats with little vegetative cover (e.g., plowed fields or heavily grazed areas), our study showed that height-density of vegetation is important to these foxes.

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    Uresk, Daniel W.; Severson, Kieth E.; Javersak, Jody. 2003. Vegetative characteristics of swift fox denning and foraging sites in southwestern South Dakota. Research Paper RMRS-RP-38. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 4 p.


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    Swift fox, Vulpes velox, foraging, dens, vegetation, habitat, South Dakota

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