Dispersal plays an important role in the population dynamics of many carnivores, yet little information exists about the dispersal and movement patterns of swift foxes (Vulpes velox). We radio-collared and monitored 68 swift foxes for dispersal at 2 study sites in northwestern Texas from January 2002 to April 2004. Dispersal distance for juveniles (13.1 ±0.3 km, s), adults (10 ±4.7 km) and transients (25.4 ±9.1 km) did not differ by age class (F = 1.49, df = 2, P = 0.24) or sex (F = 0.23, df = 1, P = 0.63) but differed by study site (F = 4.72, df = 1, P = 0.04). Mean dispersal distance from private ranches (PR) was greater than from National Grasslands (NG). Peak dispersal occurred during October–November (13 individuals) and January–February (7 individuals). Dispersal direction was influenced by land-use practices (i.e., toward rangelands and away from anthropogenic features). Direction of dispersal among foxes that occupied the NG was uniform (n = 16, P = 0.08), whereas foxes from PR dispersed in a northwesterly direction (n = 18, P ≤0.001) away from a town and croplands. Three resident adult foxes made extraterritorial movements. Distances of these movements ranged from 0.2 km to 11.4 km. Distance of extraterritorial movements did not differ by sex (F = 0.05, P = 0.83), nor by duration of movement (F = 1.11, P = 0.32). Knowledge of movement distances and patterns is important for conservation and protection of swift foxes and their habitats.
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Vol. 67 • No. 1