Foxes were introduced to Australia for hunting purposes during the mid-1850s, with most releases being around Melbourne.
Only 20 years after their introduction, foxes were declared as a pest species in Victoria. Within 100 years, foxes had reached their current distribution on the Australian mainland. Today foxes occur over 75 per cent of Australia and their range is strongly linked with that of rabbits.
Where present, wild rabbits make up a bulk of a fox’s diet. Other common food items include: domestic livestock and native fauna, house mice, insects, reptiles and amphibians, birds, grain, vegetable matter (including crops), fruit crops such as grapes, apples and blackberries.
Primary predation by foxes on domestic livestock is common and those most susceptible include: poultry, newborn lambs, goat kids, deer fawns, domestic emu and ostrich chicks.
Foxes are mainly nocturnal (night-time) hunters, being most active from dusk until dawn. They also occupy well-defined home ranges that are marked with scents including urine, droppings and anal gland secretions. In addition, foxes display territorial behaviours such as confrontation (aggressive and non-aggressive) and vocalisations.