A Two-Year-Long Study On Red Fox Hunting Behavior Revealed That These Mammals Can Sense The Earth’s Magnetic Field And Use It To Track Down Prey, Making Them The First Known Animal To Use It For Hunting

bridgephotography - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual fox

Foxes are known for being wily and smart, particularly when it comes to situations that involve food!

An example of their cleverness is showcased through a hunting tactic they use that scientists call “mousing.”

A red fox will stalk its prey, and once its victim is at a certain distance, the animal will jump high into the air, attacking its dinner from above.

Even in the winter, when snowbanks provide coverage for prey, red foxes are still able to detect exactly where the prey is hiding using the same technique.

A zoologist named Jaroslav Cerveny wanted to study fox hunting behavior more closely. Over the course of two years, he and his team recorded 84 foxes performing nearly 600 mousing jumps in areas of the Czech Republic.

At first, it seemed that the foxes relied on their sharp hearing to track down prey they couldn’t see. However, the findings of their study suggested that foxes have a secret sense beyond having a keen ear.

The researchers observed that the foxes followed a consistent pattern while hunting. They noticed that when prey was visible, the foxes leaped at it from any direction. But, when the prey was concealed, the foxes tended to jump toward the northeast.

The attacks that pointed northeast had a success rate of 75 percent. In almost any other direction, a kill was made less than 20 percent of the time. The research team couldn’t find any environmental factors that affected the foxes’ northeast leaps.

So, the only explanation left was that the foxes could sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to track down their prey.

bridgephotography – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual fox

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