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Mississippi State University

Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Microhabitat Selection


Results

Using discriminant function analysis and comparing to random points, distance to the nearest hardwood and pine, density of understory vegetation <1 m, and percentage canopy closure were significant predictors of gray fox locations. Distance to nearest pine was greater at locations used by gray fox, whereas distance to nearest hardwood was greater at random locations. Density of understory vegetation < 1 m was greater at used locations than random and canopy closure was consistently greater at used locations than random.

Summary

Gray fox frequently selected mature pine macrohabitats at all spatial scales, hence it is not surprising that locations tended to be in areas with greater distances to nearest pine, whereas distance to nearest hardwood was greater at random locations. Likewise, increasing density of understory vegetation is a component found in mature pine stands, particularly stands burned and/or thinned. Gray fox frequently selected mature pine stands with dense understory vegetation. Similar to selection of macrohabitats and associated microhabitats by bobcats and coyotes, gray fox likely selected these areas because of increased prey availability, as abundance of prey was high in mature pine habitats on TWMA.