Mammal Communities of Lancaster County

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We are researching the mammal communities of Lancaster County to better understand the factors affecting the distritubion and abundance of wildlife. We have particular interest in the ecology and behavior of urban Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes). We are fascinated by how these small carnivores adapt and thrive in urban environments.  Red foxes have been reported throughout the city of Lancaster, however their movements and habitat use are likely to be affected by the expansion of the range of the Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans). Part of the study involves determining the role of preserves, parks and green spaces as movement corridors, breeding areas, and food sources.

We have installed a set of motion-activated remote ‘trail cameras’ throughout Lancaster County to document the presence of red foxes and other wildlife. The cameras use an infrared beam and when the beam is broken by motion, the camera takes a series of photographs. These photographs will allow us to estimate mammal populations and detect which areas are most suitable and preferred for wildlife. 

We are deeply appreciative to the Lancaster County Conservancy and the Lancaster County Central Park for allowing us to conduct our research on their properties. 

If you have wildlife sightings of your own to report, please let us know here

To tell apart red foxes, gray foxes, and coyotes

Researchers: Dan Ardia & Eric Lonsdorf, Department of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College