The kit fox is a species of fox, native to North America. Mammalogists often compare this species with the swift fox. But, these two species are different. Kit foxes are considered for being the smallest foxes of the Americas.
Let’s find out some more information about the species.
Species: V. Macrotis
This smallest species of Canidae family feature unusual characteristics. They have large ears measuring 71-95mm that help them maintain lower body temperature. The kit fox exhibits sexual dimorphism. The average weight of the species is between 1.6 – 2.7kg. The body length stretches to 455 to 535mm. The tail adds another 9-13 inches to its length. Their body is covered by a gray coat, with rusty tones. They do not have a stripe along the length of its tail. Their body color ranges from yellowish to gray. The back portion is darker with belly and inner ears appearing lighter. The kit fox has dark patches around the nose.
Kit foxes prefer arid climates, and thus they are found in desert scrub, grasslands, and chaparral. They are also found in urban and agricultural areas. Kit foxes are found at an elevation of 400 – 1,900 meters, above the sea level.
Their range is the arid interior of Oregon. They are also found in the south through Nevada, southeastern California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.
Nocturnal in nature, kit foxes are sometimes spotted outside den during the day. They start with their hunting activities after sunset. Kit foxes prefer eating small animals like kangaroo rats, black-tailed jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, hares, prairie dogs, lizards, snakes, and ground-dwelling birds. This species is known to be carnivorous. If there is scarcity in food, they can survive by eating tomatoes, cactus fruits, etc.
Kit foxes are monogamous. A single male kit is found to mate with multiple females. When the female kit is ready to reproduce, they search their own den. This happens around September. The male kit is found to join female kit in the month of October and stays with her until the end of the whelping season. They have a gestation period of 49-55 days. Kit foxes produce a litter of 1-7 pups.
Kit foxes have a lifespan of 4- 7 years in wild.
Predator of this species includes coyotes, feral dogs, red foxes, and humans.
Kit foxes are usually attacked by a deadly and highly infectious skin disease called mange. The disease is spreading rapidly. This disease results in the loss of fur. If left untreated, kit foxes can die.
Their population is stable throughout the range. IUCN categorized this mammal as least concern. Their population is decreasing in some states.
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