The KIT FOX (
Vulpes macrotis) is a fox species of
North America . Its
range is primarily in the
Southwestern United States
Southwestern United States and northern and
Mexico . Some mammalogists classify it as conspecific with the
swift fox , V. velox, but molecular systematics imply that the two
species are distinct.
* 1 Range
* 2 Subspecies
* 3 Appearance
* 4 Diet
* 5 Habitat
* 6 Mating
* 7 References
* 8 External links
The northernmost part of its range is the arid interior of Oregon.
Its eastern limit is southwestern Colorado. It can be found south
through Nevada, Utah, southeastern California, Arizona, New Mexico,
and into western Texas.
San Joaquin kit fox
San Joaquin kit fox at the California Living Museum in
The endangered SAN JOAQUIN KIT FOX (
Vulpes macrotis mutica) was
formerly very common in the
San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley and through much of
Central California . Its 1990 population was estimated to be 7,000.
This subspecies is still endangered, after nearly 50 years of being on
Endangered Species List. Officially this subspecies was listed
March 3, 1967. On September 26, 2007, Wildlands Inc. announced the
designation of the 684-acre (2.77 km2) Deadman Creek Conservation
Bank, which is intended specifically to protect habitat of the San
Joaquin kit fox. However, the population continues to decline mostly
due to heavy habitat loss. Other factors include competition from red
fox , and the extermination of the gray wolf from California has left
the coyote as the dominant meso-predator in kit fox territory bringing
an imbalance in ecosystem relationships.
The SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KIT FOX (V. m. macrotis) was a population of
kit foxes native to desert regions of
Southern California which became
extinct in 1903.
The DESERT KIT FOX (V. m. arsipus) lives in the
Mojave Desert .
The kit fox is the smallest species of the family
Canidae found in
North America (except for specially bred domestic dog breeds like
teacup Yorkshire.) It has large ears, between 71 and 95 mm (2.8 and
3.7 in), that help the fox lower its body temperature and give it
exceptional hearing (much like those of the fennec fox ). This species
exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the male being slightly larger. The
average species weight is between 1.6 and 2.7 kg (3.5 and 6.0 lb). The
body length is 455 to 535 mm (17.9 to 21.1 in). The tail adds another
250–340 mm (9.8–13.4 in) to its length.
It usually has a gray coat, with rusty tones, and a black tip to its
tail. Unlike the gray fox , it has no stripe along the length of its
tail. Its color ranges from yellowish to gray, and the back is usually
darker than the majority of its coat; its belly and inner ears are
usually lighter. It has distinct dark patches around the nose.
The kit fox is mostly a nocturnal animal, but sometimes ventures
out of its den during the day. It usually goes out to hunt shortly
after sunset, mostly eating small animals such as kangaroo rats ,
cottontail rabbits , black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus),
meadow voles, hares , prairie dogs , insects, lizards, snakes, fish,
and ground-dwelling birds. It will scavenge carrion . While primarily
carnivorous , if food is scarce, it has been known to eat tomatoes
(Lycopersicon esculentum), cactus fruits (Carnegiea gigantea) and
other fruits. Different kit fox families can occupy the same hunting
grounds, but do not generally go hunting at the same time.
Kit foxes favor arid climates, such as desert scrub , chaparral , and
grasslands . Good examples of common habitats are sagebrush Artemisia
tridentata and saltbrush Atriplex polycarpa. They can be found in
urban and agricultural areas, too. They are found at elevations of 400
to 1,900 meters (1,300 to 6,200 ft) above sea level.
Fox § Sexual characteristics
The kit fox is a socially monogamous species. Male and female kit
foxes usually establish monogamous mating pairs during October and
November. Polygamous mating relationships have been observed. Pairs
can change year to year. They mate from December to February, when
they use larger family dens. Litters are born throughout March and
April, usually containing one to seven pups, and average four pups.
The gestation is 49 to 55 days. Pups do not leave the den until they
are four weeks old. They are weaned after about eight weeks and become
independent at five to six months old. They become sexually mature at
10 months. Both parents take part in raising and protecting their
young. The average lifespan of a wild kit fox is 5.5 years. In
captivity, they can live 12 years. One Californian study of 144 kit
fox pups showed a 74% mortality rate in pups within the first year.
* ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.;
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic
Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628.
ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0 .
OCLC 62265494 .
* ^ IUCN SCC Canid Specialist Group (
North America Regional
Section) (2008). "
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature
. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief
justification of why this species is of least concern
* ^ Mercure, Alan; Ralls, Katherine; Koepfli, Klaus P.; Wayne,
Robert K. (1993). "Genetic Subdivisions among Small Canids:
Mitochondrial DNA Differentiation of Swift, Kit, and Arctic Foxes"
(PDF). Evolution. 47 (5): 1313. doi :10.2307/2410150 . ISSN 0014-3820
* ^ A B C D E F ADW:
Vulpes macrotis: Information.
Animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu (2008-04-05). Retrieved on 2011-09-16.
Kit fox Gets Some Protection, In California, Environmental News
Network, September 27, 2007
* ^ "Kit Fox". Digital Desert. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
* ^ Ralls, Katherine, Brian Cypher, and Linda K. Spiegel. "Social
monogamy in kit foxes: formation, association, duration, and
dissolution of mated pairs." Journal of Mammalogy 88.6 (2007):
* ^ "Kit
Vulpes macrotis): A Technical Conservation