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Kit Fox Vulpes macrotis


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Kit Fox
credit: FWS

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Family: Canidae, Dogs view all from this family

Description Similar to the Swift Fox but with a longer tail and larger ears. The Kit Fox is distinguished by its longer tail (62% head and body length vs. 52%), larger ears (more than 75mm) set close to the midline of the skull, a head that is broader between the eyes but narrower at the snout, and more slitlike, less-rounded eyes. The pelage is generally gray, but mixed with rusty overtones, and the tail has a black tip. Prefers shrub-steppe and desert habitats.

Dimensions 73-84cm, 26-32cm, 1.4-2.7kg

Endangered Status The San Joaquin Kit Fox, a subspecies of the Kit Fox, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in California. Before the 1800s, the grasslands of California were second in size only to the Great Plains. Today only 1 percent of the state's native grasslands remains. The San Joaquin Kit Fox is a grassland and scrubland inhabitat and has suffered from the modification of these habitats. Industry, development, and various types of agriculture (in the forms of row crops, orchards, vineyards, and livestock forage) have taken over many of these lands. Suitable remaining habitats are fragmented, meaning the foxes occur in small and isolated populations. These small numbers make the everyday dangers of life in the modern-day wild -- predators, starvation, flooding or drought, poaching, automobiles -- even more significant than they are in a healthy and widespread population.

Similar Species Similar to the Swift Fox but with a longer tail and larger ears.

Breeding Males and females bond in the fall and breed in winter, but pairs may not persist from year to year. Litters of 3-14 cubs are born in March-April. Constructs elaborate den systems connected by tunnels, with multiple dens having many separate entrances.

Habitat Canyons & caves, Deserts, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Grasslands & prairies

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, California, Northwest

Discussion Primarily nocturnal, but occasionally active at all hours, it feeds predominantly on rodents and lagomorphs, but also takes small birds, fish, and insects.