Updated at: 29-09-2023 - By: petstutorial

Foxes are fascinating animals that belong to the family Canidae, which includes domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, and other dog-like mammals.

There are 23 living species of foxes, classified into 6 genera, with the largest genus being Vulpes, containing 12 species known as the true foxes.

Foxes are usually small canines with triangular ears, a flattened skull, pointed snout, and a bushy tail, with most being omnivorous and either nocturnal or crepuscular.

In this article, we will explore eight of the most common types of foxes, their characteristics, and where they can be found.

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8 Types Of Foxes

Red Fox

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is one of the most widespread species of foxes, found throughout Europe, temperate Asia, northern Africa, and North America. They are members of the dog family, Canidae, and are about three feet long and two feet tall, with long snouts and red fur across the face, back, sides, and tail.

Their throat, chin, and belly are grayish-white, and they have black feet and black-tipped ears that are large and pointy. One of the most noticeable characteristics of the red fox is the fluffy white-tipped tail.

Red foxes are often confused with gray foxes, which share a similar habitat and range. However, the surefire way to tell the difference is to look for the color at the tip of the tail. Gray foxes have black-tipped tails, while red fox tails are white.

Arctic Fox

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The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is a small fox species that is native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are well adapted to living in cold environments and are best known for their thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage.

Arctic foxes are small and stout compared to other foxes, with short snouts, stubby legs, and little, curled ears that help to minimize heat loss. They have a stocky appearance, with a body length of 18 to 26.75 inches and a weight of 6.5 to 17 pounds.

Arctic foxes are monogamous and usually mate for life. They live in the tundra and pack ice, but are also present in Canadian boreal forests. Their range includes Greenland, Iceland, Fennoscandia, Svalbard, Jan Mayen, and other islands in the Barents Sea, northern Russia, islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska, and Canada as far south as Hudson Bay.

Gray Fox

The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) is a small fox species that is native to North and Central America. They are about 32 to 45 inches long and weigh between 7 to 14 pounds, with a grizzled-gray coat and reddish-brown fur on the sides of the neck, back of the ears, chest, inner and back surfaces of the legs, feet, sides of the belly, and under the surface of the tail.

The cheeks, throat, inner ears, and most of the underside are white, and the upper part of the tail, including the tip, is black. Gray foxes have shorter legs than red foxes and are somewhat stout, with pointed ears, an elongated snout, and a long, bushy tail that is carried horizontally.

They are solitary hunters and eat a wide variety of foods, including small mammals, fruits, insects, birds and eggs, carrion, corn, amphibians, and reptiles.

Gray foxes prefer dense hardwood or mixed hardwood/softwood forests, and their habitat is commonly located along the banks of streams and rivers.

They are nocturnal and crepuscular, which means they are most active at dusk and dawn, and they are extremely territorial of their small home range.

Fennec Fox

The fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) is a small crepuscular fox native to the deserts of North Africa, ranging from Western Sahara and Mauritania to the Sinai Peninsula. It is the smallest species of fox, measuring only 14 to 16 inches in length, with an additional 7 to 12 inches of tail, and weighing between 2 and 3 pounds.

The fennec fox has a distinctive feature of unusually large ears, which serve to dissipate heat and listen for underground prey. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to the desert environment with high temperatures and little water.

Fennec foxes are opportunistic eaters, foraging for plants but also eating rodents, eggs, reptiles, and insects. They are also capable of going for long periods without consuming water, as they are able to hydrate through the food they consume.

Fennec foxes are heavily furred, with long, soft, and thick coats that range in color from reddish cream to light fawn to almost white, and their undersides are pure white, while their tails are bushy with black tips.

Kit Fox

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The kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) is a small fox species that inhabits arid and semi-arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico. They are the smallest of the four species of Vulpes occurring in North America and are among the smallest of the vulpines worldwide.

Kit foxes have a tan coat, with a bushy, black-tipped tail, and weigh only about 5 pounds when fully grown. They have large ears that help them dissipate heat and listen for underground prey, and they are primarily active during the cool night, lounging by day in burrow systems where they take refuge from hot and cold temperatures as well as from predators, including coyotes and golden eagles.

Kit foxes are opportunistic eaters, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fruits. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, behavior, and habitat of the kit fox.

Characteristics of the Kit Fox
– Small size, weighing only about 5 pounds when fully grown
– Tan coat with a bushy, black-tipped tail
– Large ears that help dissipate heat and listen for underground prey

Behavior of the Kit Fox
– Primarily active during the cool night
– Opportunistic eaters, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fruits
– Take refuge from hot and cold temperatures as well as from predators, including coyotes and golden eagles

Habitat of the Kit Fox
– Inhabits arid and semi-arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico
– Prefer open desert areas with sparse vegetation and sandy soils
– Live in burrow systems where they take refuge from hot and cold temperatures as well as from predators

Swift Fox

The swift fox (Vulpes velox) is a small fox species found in the western grasslands of North America, such as Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in Canada. They are the smallest member of the canid family in North America, weighing approximately 2 to 3 kilograms and measuring about 30 cm tall and 80 cm long.

Swift foxes have a light orange-tan coat and are closely related to the kit fox, with some mammalogists classifying them as conspecific. However, molecular systematics imply that the two species are distinct.

Swift foxes are opportunistic eaters, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fruits. They live primarily in shortgrass prairies and deserts, often forming their dens in sandy soils on open prairies, along fences, or in plowed fields.

Swift foxes have experienced significant population declines and are now estimated to occupy less than half of their historic range in the United States.

Characteristics of the Swift Fox
– Small size, weighing approximately 2 to 3 kilograms
– Light orange-tan coat
– Closely related to the kit fox

Behavior of the Swift Fox
– Opportunistic eaters, feeding on small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and fruits
– Live primarily in shortgrass prairies and deserts
– Form their dens in sandy soils on open prairies, along fences, or in plowed fields

Habitat of the Swift Fox
– Found in the western grasslands of North America, such as Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta in Canada
– Primarily live in shortgrass prairies and deserts
– Have experienced significant population declines and are now estimated to occupy less than half of their historic range in the United States

Culpeo

The culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus) is a species of South American fox that is not a true fox, but more closely related to wolves and jackals. It is the second-largest native canid on the continent, after the Maned wolf.

Culpeos have grey and reddish fur, a white chin, reddish legs, and a stripe on their back. They are found in South America from Ecuador to southern Chile and Argentina, and prefer open habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, and deserts.

The culpeo’s diet consists largely of rodents, rabbits, birds, and lizards, and to a lesser extent, plant material and carrion. They may prey on Andean flamingos and baby vicuña.

The culpeo occasionally attacks sheep and is, therefore, often hunted or poisoned. In some regions, it has become rare, but overall the species is not threatened with extinction.

Characteristics of the Culpeo
– Grey and reddish fur, a white chin, reddish legs, and a stripe on their back
– Second-largest native canid on the continent, after the Maned wolf

Behavior of the Culpeo
– Not a true fox, but more closely related to wolves and jackals
– Diet consists largely of rodents, rabbits, birds, and lizards, and to a lesser extent, plant material and carrion
– May prey on Andean flamingos and baby vicuña
– Occasionally attacks sheep and is, therefore, often hunted or poisoned

Habitat of the Culpeo
– Found in South America from Ecuador to southern Chile and Argentina
– Prefer open habitats such as grasslands, shrublands, and deserts
– Overall, the species is not threatened with extinction

Cozumel Fox

The Cozumel fox is a small gray fox that is native to the island of Cozumel, Mexico. It is considered a critically endangered or extinct species, as the last reported sighting was in 2001.

The Cozumel fox is not classified by science, and only a handful of sightings and studies of subfossil bones provide information about it. It is an undescribed species of fox in the genus Urocyon, which is apparently close to extinction or even already extinct.

The Cozumel fox is not included in the IUCN classification since it is so rare that it has never been detected in any wildlife surveys.

Characteristics of the Cozumel Fox
– Small gray fox
– Native to the island of Cozumel, Mexico
– Not classified by science
– Undescribed species of fox in the genus Urocyon

Behavior of the Cozumel Fox
– Little is known about the behavior of the Cozumel fox due to its rarity
– Considered a critically endangered or extinct species

Habitat of the Cozumel Fox
– Native to the island of Cozumel, Mexico
– Little is known about the habitat of the Cozumel fox due to its rarity

FAQS

1. How many types of foxes are there?

There are 23 living species of foxes, classified into 6 genera, with the largest genus being Vulpes, containing 12 species known as the true foxes.

2. What is the smallest species of fox?

The fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) is the smallest species of fox, measuring only 14 to 16 inches in length, with an additional 7 to 12 inches of tail, and weighing between 2 and 3 pounds.

3. What is the largest species of fox?

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest species of fox, found throughout Europe, temperate Asia, northern Africa, and North America.

4. Where can I find foxes in the wild?

Foxes can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, deserts, forests, and tundras, depending on the species. Some of the most common species, such as the red fox, can be found in many parts of the world.

5. Are foxes endangered?

Some species of foxes are endangered or threatened, such as the Sierra Nevada Red fox of California, which is a subspecies of the Red fox. The Cozumel fox is considered a critically endangered or extinct species, as the last reported sighting was in 2001. Swift foxes have experienced significant population declines and are now estimated to occupy less than half of their historic range in the United States.

6. Can foxes mate with dogs?

No, foxes cannot mate with domestic dogs due to their different chromosome counts, making it impossible for them to produce viable offspring.

7. What do foxes eat?

Foxes are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of foods, including small mammals, fruits, insects, birds and eggs, carrion, corn, amphibians, and reptiles, depending on the species.

8. Are foxes related to cats or dogs?

Foxes are more closely related to dogs and wolves than to cats, although they share some similarities with cats, such as their ability to climb trees and their retractable claws.

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