The World's Worst Invasive Mammals
Animals as common as goats, deer, rabbits or mice can have a devastating effect on other wildlife
- By Jess Righthand
- Smithsonian.com, December 20, 2010
Close-up of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) (© Philip Bird / Alamy)
The Vulpus vulpus, or red fox, is native to Eurasia, North Africa, Central America and the Arctic. In its native habitat, the fox is at times considered a vital check on small mammals and rodents. But in areas where the fox has invaded, its presence can be detrimental. Since being introduced to Australia for hunting purposes in the mid-1800s, foxes have contributed to the decline of dozens of native animals, including newborn lambs. The fox roams expansive distances of up to 190 miles, which makes it a dangerous carrier of diseases like rabies. Traditional means of fox control—poison, hunting and fencing—are in place, though hunting has declined in recent years due to decreased demand for furs.