Riparian Zone Retreat and Population Studies Casey Ragan Honors Biology II Pd. 1
Niche of The Common Gray Fox
The Gray Fox is most common widely around the United States, from Southern Canada to Northern Venezuela and Columbia. They prefer more wooded and brushy areas than the Red Fox.
The Gray Fox feeds on: Rabbits, Mice, Gophers, Wood rats, Squirrels, fruits, nuts, grains, Grasshoppers, Crickets, Beetles, Moths, Butterflies, and small amounts of Herbage.
The Gray Fox has few predators. Although, the pups have many, such as: Large Hawks, Golden Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Domestic Dogs, and Bobcats.
The Gray Fox hunts at night, when it is most active. It stalks and pounces on prey.
The Gray fox can climb trees very well.
The Gray Fox is commonly mistaken for the Red Fox because it has spots of red on ears, ruff and neck.
Factors Affecting the Birth Rate of The Gray Fox
Mating season is between January and April.
They commonly have one litter per year.
The gestation period is 51-63 days.
Between 1 and 7 pups are born.
The female nurses the pups until they are weaned at 3 months old. The male teaches them to hunt and at 4 months they can hunt on their own.
They start reproducing around the age of one year.
Factors Affecting Death Rate of The Gray Fox
The Gray Fox does not have many predators, other than humans. The pups do, however.
The life expectancy of a Gray Fox is approximately 6-8 years.
Common parasites that may harm the Gray Fox would be ticks, fleas, lice, mites, and chiggers.
If overpopulation occurs among Gray Foxes, they will have harder times finder homes, causing reproduction to decrease and the Gray Fox population to decrease.
Food Chain of The Gray Fox Producer Autotroph Primary Consumer Omnivore Secondary Consumer Carnivore Tertiary Consumer Omnivore
Food web of Gray Fox Omnivore Producer Herbivore Carnivore Carnivore Producer Carnivore Herbivore Herbivore Omnivore Producer
Population Sampling Techniques
One way ecologists estimate the size of animal species is by mark and recapture. They catch animals and mark them recapture the animals, and repeat the next day.
A sampling technique would be Quadrat sample. You divide an area into sections and survey the number of animals in a few random areas. Then you figure out the population trends from the data you collected.
Stream Quality Data & Analysis
The graph represents very healthy stream conditions because there are a lot of Class I organisms.
When there are a lot of Class I and II organisms, streams tend to be more healthy, where as when there are large amounts of Class III and less I and II, then the stream seems to be less healthy.
The stream conditions above could affect the Gray Fox when it drinks the water, it may make the animal ill because the quality is not good.
My animal would not be able to find as healthy water to drink, or be able to prey on some of the animals that it eats, because the stream is not healthy for that prey to live in or near the stream.
Water Testing Data & Analysis
The ideal Nitrate and Phosphate level in water is zero. The ideal Oxygen level in water is 6-10. The ideal PH level in water is 6.5-7.5.
The ideal range for Nitrate and Phosphate would be zero, for oxygen would be 6-10 and ideal PH would be 6.5-7.5. When any of these levels get out of control it make cause pollution and life to decrease.
The Gray Fox would have a better chance of surviving when the stream is next to the Marsh because it has better water quality, rather than next to the Mine where the water is polluted.
When a stream gets too cold or warm that can cause life to decrease. When a stream is clearer, the clingers are able to see under water to cling to rocks.
Soil Testing & Analysis
Nitrogen is important for proper functioning of metabolism of plants. Phosphorus is most important for root systems. Potash stimulates flowering, and makes sugar in photosynthesis. PH is important for keeping nutrients available in soil.
The ideal range of PH in soil is approximately 4-8. There should be medium levels of Potash, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen in soil.
If chemical levels are too acidic or too basic they can make the plants die, causing the animals that eat those plants die, and so on.
Positive and Negative Factors
The clean water of Marshes and Streams are good for the Grey Fox, because it can drink from it. The polluted waters of mines would not be good for the Grey Fox because it could kill the Grey Fox with the chemicals and pollution in the Mine waters.
The soil conditions are good in the riparian zone because the plants grow and feed the animals that are prey for the Grey Fox.
Factors positively affecting the riparian zone are the Class I organisms and the healthy levels of Phosphorus, PH, Nitrate and Oxygen. These factors support life and keep the stream healthy. Negative factors would be pollution from farmland runoff and fertilizer. The pollution causes unhealthy streams, which kills some of the food the Gray Fox’s prey survive on and they can not have a healthy water supply.
Something new I learned about the ecosystem is that, different animals in the stream, indicate which class they are in and weather or not the stream is healthy enough for life.
Something interesting I learned, was when one animal dies off, it can affect a lot of different classes of animals.
I would like to research farmland run-off further.
Rose, Uldis. The Red Fox . N.p.: A Comstock Book, 2007. N. pag. Print.
“ Red Fox." Brittanica Encyclopedia . 2000. Print
www.animaldiversity.com . N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/sites/accounts/information/ Erethizon_dorsatum.html>.