Fox gorges on 63 centipedes in one night, gut analysis shows

By Australian Geographic 15 June 2020
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The fox was found to have eaten up to 63 centipedes in just one night.

FOX GUT ANALYSIS is a big part of Bush Heritage project officer Kate Taylor’s job. Out on Bon Bon Station Reserve in outback South Australia, it’s important to know what these feral pests are eating.

“It tells us which native species they are eating and therefore impacting,” Kate says. “It shows the difference of prey species between feral cats and foxes, and we can also look at prey type across different seasons.” 

But when Kate found the remains of 63 centipedes she was surprised. “While dissecting and analysing stomach contents is quite messy and smelly work not for the faint-hearted, it is always fascinating to see what these animals have been eating. 

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(Image credit: Kate Taylor/Bush Heritage)

“When we tipped out the contents of this particular stomach I was completely blown away. In addition to the 63 individual centipedes weighing 155 g, there were two small mammals and one gecko.”

According to Kate, centipedes make up a good part of the foxes diet. “Centipedes form part of both fox and feral cat diets however they are found more often in fox stomachs. Foxes are also known to eat scorpions.”