Spatial aspects of gardens drive ranging in urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes): The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis revisited

Bryony Tolhurst, Rowenna Baker, Francesca Cagnacci, Dawn Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Red foxes are a well-established species of urban ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. Understanding the spatial ecology of foxes in urban landscapes is important for enhancement of urban biodiversity and effective disease management. The Resource Dispersion Hypothesis (RDH) holds that territory (home range) size is linked to distribution and richness of habitat patches such that aggregation of rich resources should be negatively associated with range size. Here, we tested the RDH on a sample of 20 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the city of Brighton and Hove. We focused on residential garden areas, as foxes were associated with these in previous studies. We equipped 12 male and 8 female foxes with GPS collars recording at 15 min intervals during discrete seasons over four years. We regressed fox core area size against garden size, number of garden patches, and edge density within and between patches as extracted from GIS in a series of bivariate linear mixed models. We found that foxes used smaller core areas where gardens were large and well-connected and larger core areas where numerous, smaller gardens were fragmented by internal barriers (e.g., fences, walls) or bisected by other habitats such as managed grassland or built-up areas. Our findings confirm the RDH and help to inform future urban planning for wildlife.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1167
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • Red Fox
  • Vulpes vulpes
  • Resource Dispersion Hypothesis
  • RDH
  • Kernel Density Estimators
  • KDE
  • Patch size
  • Patch distribution
  • Core Areas
  • Urban Ecology
  • Urban Mammals
  • Core areas
  • Urban ecology
  • Red fox
  • Urban mammals
  • Resource dispersion hypothesis (RDH)
  • Kernel density estimators (KDE)


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