Kit Foxes (Vulpes macrotis) are fun animals to see when out in about in the basin and range, they tend to be quite inquisitive and not too shy, which can be a detriment. They live in the desert and semi-arid regions between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Rocky Mountains and down into Baja California and the North Central states of Mexico. They belong to the Canidae family which includes, wolves, coyotes, red foxes and grey foxes. Kit foxes are the smallest of the North American foxes, yet they have the biggest ears.
Being the smallest member of the Canidae family in North America, mature adults tend to measure between 15-20 inches in length with a 9-12 inch tail, weighing roughly 3-4 pounds. As mentioned above, they have very large ears which help them find prey at night and dissipate body heat. They tend to be light gray to sandy in color, which helps them blend into their surroundings, camouflaging them. Their tail has a dark tip and their muzzles have dark patches on both sides.
Kit foxes live in burrows which helps them to keep cool in the extreme heat and warm in the extreme cold. The burrows also help them avoid predators. Kit foxes typically dig their own dens, however they will take over rodent dens, enlarging them to meet their needs. They will also take over old, abandoned dens if they are available. Research suggests that kit foxes are very sensitive to den disturbance and if an entry way has been blocked or disturbed they will abandon the den and move to a new one.
Kit foxes are in the same family as some of the big carnivores, but they tend to be more of an opportunistic omnivore. Their main prey items include: black-tailed jackrabbits, cottontails, and small rodents, but they will also eat insects, small reptiles, ground nesting birds and fruit. They get the water they need from the body fluids of their prey.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources; https://wildlife.utah.gov/publications/pdf/2010_kit_fox.pdf accessed 7/19/2014
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; North American Mammals: http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=428 accessed 7/19/2014
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