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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Gray Foxes in California have been observed "ODOR CAMOUFLAGING"..............."This involves the Foxes deliberately rubbing themselves in Puma 'scrapes', absorbing the 'lions' scent"................Such actions seem to provide the Foxes with an additional defense apparatus in their defense against those that would kill them, like Coyotes........Coyotes are subject to attack from Pumas so they use their highly developed sense of smell to do all possible to stay clear of the "big cats"..............By immersing themselves in Puma scrapes, the Gray Foxes can feint the Coyotes into believing that the odor in the air signals their pursuer the Puma, rather than their prey, the Foxes

Daily News 
19 January 2017

Foxes may confuse predators by rubbing 

themselves in puma scent

A smelly solution?

Maresa Pryor/Lightwave Photography Inc./NGS Creative

They have a reputation as cunning creatures, and some foxes appear to be living up to it as masters of disguise.
Gray foxes living in the mountains of California have been filmed deliberately rubbing themselves in the scent marks left by mountain lions.
They may be using the scent of the big cats, also known as pumas or cougars, as a sort of odour camouflage against other large predators such as coyotes.
Coyotes often kill gray foxes, which are half their size, to reduce competition.
Max Allen, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, had been studying pumas visiting sites known as “community scrapes”, where males leave scent “signposts” to communicate with others.

Surprise visitors

He was surprised when remote cameras set up to monitor the mountain lions revealed foxes also regularly visiting these sites.
Analysis of footage taken over four years at 26 different sites revealed the foxes were rubbing their cheeks on bits of ground that had been freshly marked by the mountain lions, often within hours of a big cat’s visit.
“The foxes rub very specifically on the areas where the pumas mark,” says Allen. “Coyotes are very reliant upon smell when hunting and are much bigger than the foxes. The foxes have a hard time fighting back, so they use this to give themselves a chance to escape.”
Allen and his colleagues found 92 out of 903 documented visits by foxes involved cheek rubbing. And 85 per cent of the foxes that exhibited this behaviour did so on spots where pumas had deposited their scent. The team did not see any similar behaviour from coyotes or bobcats, which also visited the sites far less frequently than the foxes.
Many animals rub their cheeks and bodies on stones, trees and the ground to leave their scent behind. Allen’s video footage, however, showed the foxes rubbing themselves in the puma scrape five times more often than they did on shrubs or unmarked ground at those sites.
This suggests they were focused on applying puma scent onto themselves, rather than depositing their own scent.

Escape strategy

There are various reasons why foxes might do this. But Allen’s team says that predator avoidance seems the most likely hypothesis and is worth exploring further.
“Gray foxes climb trees to avoid predators,” says Allen. “In many cases, they probably only need a few seconds’ hesitation from a coyote for them to get up a tree. Smelling like a puma might give them that time.”
But there may be another explanation, says Steve Harris, an ecologist who studies foxes at the University of Bristol in the UK.
“Foxes use their saliva as scent and have glands in the region of the lips,” he says. “My impression is that the gray foxes are stimulated by the strong odours left by the pumas and are depositing their own scent.”
Allen and his colleagues hope to use tags on some gray foxes to study whether foxes that have rubbed themselves in puma scent are more likely to survive predation.
Journal reference: Journal of EthologyDOI: 10.1007/s10164-016-0492-6 has shared a
video with you on YouTube


Foxes seem to disguise themselves
 as pumas to avoid predators

Gray foxes in the mountains of California rub
 in the scent of pumas, possibly to absorb their
smell and confuse predators to give themselves
a chance to run

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