Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1996

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Jerry R. Choate


In western Kansas, swift foxes inhabit short and mid-grass prairie as well as cultivated and fallow cropland. I examined the differences in denning ecology of swift foxes inhabiting cropland and those in rangeland. I compared den characteristics, including size of openings, number of openings, distance between openings, direction of openings, shape of openings, and dimensions of tailings I also compared den site characteristics, including slope, surface roughness, surface ruggedness, surrounding vegetation, and soil. Most den and den site characteristics did not differ significantly between rangeland and cropland. However, vegetation, dimensions of tailings, surface roughness, and ruggedness were significantly different in the two habitats. Vegetation in areas surrounding dens and in randomly selected areas was higher and denser in rangeland than in cropland. Overall surface ruggedness was greater in rangeland tailings were absent more often from den sites in cropland than in rangeland. Den sites in cropland and in randomly selected cropland areas had a greater surface roughness. Swift foxes are able to exploit both cultivated and fallow cropland as well as rangeland. The intrinsic nature of these habitats (vegetation, surface roughness, and surface ruggedness) differs, but construction and maintenance of dens by swill foxes is the same in both habitats Knowledge of how readily swift foxes den in agricultural areas can help in management decisions.


Copyright 1996 Victoria L. Jackson


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