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The Fox Has a New Secret: The Secret of Its Dive-Bombing Magnetic Hunting Technique

Truly, the fox is a mysterious and mystical creature with many secrets.

You know what? Who cares what the fox says. It can jump into the air and land face first on its tiny prey right through several feet of snow. As far as we’re concerned, it can say whatever it wants, because it’s a deadly supernatural killing machine that we’re glad is too small to hunt humans. Also, it’s pretty hilarious to watch, so why don’t you.

The leaping attack allows it to sneak up on little mice under the snow in complete silence after it uses its big ears to pinpoint the location of its meal. The fox is still committed to keeping itself mysterious, though, as its leaps only reliably result in kills when it’s pointed about 20 degrees east of magnetic north, and no one knows exactly why.

Maybe someone can write a song about THAT.

The current theory is that foxes (like some other animals) have a sense that follows Earth’s magnetic field, and it allows them to pinpoint a spot on the ground more accurately when they’re aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field in the proper direction. When pointed at their preferred angle, foxes can dive on their prey with nearly 75% accuracy, which is way better than 18% accuracy in other directions. It’s also plenty to get scientists interested in figuring out just why that is.

We, on the other hand, didn’t need anything else to be interested aside from flying foxes dive-bombing mice through feet of snow and adjusting their trajectory mid air, because it’s amazing and hilarious to watch.

(via NPR, image via Discovery on YouTube)

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