The food of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Relatively little is known concerning the diet of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Ireland (Fairley, 1970; Forbes & Lance, 1976) compared with mainland Britain (Southern & Watson, 1941; Lockie. 1956; Lever, 1959; Hurrell, 1962; Burrows, 1968; Richards, 1977; Lloyd, 1980; Harris, 1981). In Britain, most authors have found the principal components of the diet to be rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and field voles (Microtus agrestis), with the latter assuming dominance following myxomatosis (Lockie, 1956; Lever, 1959; Burrows, 1968). The foods available to the fox in Ireland are restricted by the lack of voles and Fairley (1970) reports regular predation on rats (Rattus norvegicus) which is unusual in Britain. However, with the discovery and subsequent spread of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) in the south-west of Ireland (Smal & Fairley, 1984), more infonnation on fox diets from vole-free areas is essential if the future impact of this species is to be understood.