- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting South America’s crab-eating fox.
The crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), also known as the forest fox or wood fox, is a medium-sized canid found throughout most of South America from sea level to 3,000 meters high. It is mainly active during the night and during the day they burrow in a den dug by other animals despite being capable diggers. These dens are often located in thick grass and bushes, and each den usually has many entrance holes. The crab-eating fox can be solitary but can also form couples or even families of up to five individuals. It hunts alone and is a generalist omnivore that is able to use environments disturbed by human activities. The species gets its name because during the wet season it searches for crabs on muddy floodplains.
Currently, the crab-eating foxe is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and its population remains stable. Its main threat is habitat destruction as a result of human activity and getting diseases from feral dogs. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to Paula Prist and Jeffrey Esparza for sharing their camera trap footage.
Paula R. Prist is a biologist that works with the effects of landscape structure on human health, more specifically investigating how habitat loss and fragmentation, land use changes, and diversity loss affect the transmission risk of zoonotic diseases. Her main research focuses are related to how landscape structure affects the transmission risk and occurrence of zoonotic diseases, and how can we manage the landscape to make them “healthier” for people. The camera trap footage was part of a project where they investigated how landscape structure affects the occurrence of medium-sized and large-bodied mammals in Brazil.
Jeffrey Esparza is a biologist, ecologist, and Master’s candidate in the Department of Biology at California State University, Northridge. His Master’s thesis focuses on the ecological coexistence between two species of armadillo in the southern Pantanal of Brazil. His research took him into the field where he came across a variety of wildlife, including crab-eating foxes. His project hopes to shed light on the ecology of armadillos and their ecological importance in their respective ecosystems.
Banner photo: Screenshot of the crab-eating fox footage
Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino