Footage of a fox hunting one of Israel's smallest predators, the shrew, has been obtained by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) in a veritable battle of the predators – albeit a very lopsided one.
The fox in question, believed to be a female, was spotted near Beit Shemesh.
Video footage of the fox's hunt was shared on YouTube.
What was the fox doing?
According to SPNI's Amir Balaban, the fox in question was most likely pregnant.
This tends to be the case for most foxes in Israel during February. As such, their appetite tends to increase.
"For the pregnancy to be successful, the foxes need to hunt a lot, including during the day," Balaban explained.
He and his team were the ones who captured the footage of the fox's hunt.
However, after reviewing the footage, he realized that following the fox and taking pictures had been an unfortunate mistake.
"After the hunt, the fox buried her prey in the ground and went on her way without eating it," Balaban explained.
So why didn't the fox eat its prey?
According to Balaban, the answer may be because it was surprising.
When foxes are distressed, they release a very pungent smell. This may have inadvertently ruined the fox's appetite. However, burying it and leaving it to age may help make the prey more edible for the fox.
What did the fox hunt?
The fox's prey this time was a small shrew, itself a tiny predator in its own right. However, it is no match for a hungry fox.
Shrews are small and fast, but need to eat a huge amount of food each day compared to their size. They usually spend all their time underground and is very useful at feeding off agricultural pests.
They also breed very quickly with huge broods, despite their otherwise short lifespan. This ensures their numbers won't be harmed by hungry foxes.