A study that has been carried out on the diet of red foxes in the pine forests of Scotland. Bizarrely, researchers found that dog poo has a similar calorific content to foxes wild prey.
Obviously, it is easier to hunt as it does not move. As a result, it is a good alternative – particularly when other food is in short supply. Dog DNA was the second most frequent species found in fox stool, at about 40% of samples tested. There was a suggestion that this is because of confusion between the two as foxes and dogs are so closely related.
There is of course a danger in this, as dogs are capable of picking up pathogens from the human population that they live with. If this pathogen was to me picked up by the fox population, it could well have a bigger effect possibly wiping out fox populations.
This shows how in the Cairngorms pine forest, the human visitors with their canine friends may have a lasting impact on the ecosystem, even though humans are not there a great deal of the time.
Perhaps one of the big takeaways, is that dog owners should clear up after their dogs, regardless of where they are.