WATCH: Instinctive Fox Dives Face First in Snow to Hunt

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, Staff Writer
January 18, 2014; 2:35 AM
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Snow-diving fox. See video below. (Video/Discovery)

Scientists have long been studying how animals adapt to their environments and weather. From the predication possibilities of squirrels to how foxes hunt for their meals, animals are considered by many to have an intuitive response to the weather.

The North American red fox is a predatory animal, feasting on a diet of birds, plants and primarily small rodents. When feet of winter snow buries the fox's field mice, it takes an incredible aerial leap to attack and catch its prey.

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A fox, thanks in large part to its exceptional hearing, is able to stalk its prey from 25 feet away. It then hones in on its target, takes a magnificent leap and sends itself face first into the snow.

Discovery's North America shows how foxes dive through the snow to find their prey in the cold winter months.

Animals such as mice and voles will typically burrow in the ground, but in the winter months they may make their tunnels right through the snow cover. The fox hears the rustling of the rodents and pounces into the snow to retrieve its target.

A Czech researcher named Jaroslav Cerveny discovered that the leap of the fox is not restricted to a certain environment but may instead be determined by the magnetic field of the Earth.

North American red foxes are more likely to succeed in their hunt if they are leaping in a northerly direction. Though yet unproven, Cerveny's theory is that the possible magnetic sense of a fox allows its to pinpoint the location of its food.

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