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What species of fox is this?

What species of fox is this?



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I found this picture of a fox in a news article about arctic foxes in Sweden (source), but I'm not sure whether it is actually an arctic fox.

On the one hand, it has white fur, which is the correct winter coat for an arctic fox. On the other hand, the fox's ears do not have the distinctive shape of arctic fox ears, but ears that look more like red fox ears.

The image credit given by the article is just "iStock", so I searched iStock to see if I could find more information about the photo. I found another photo of the same fox here, also labeled as an arctic fox, but not really any further information.

What species is this fox?


This is a white morph red fox, not an arctic fox.

As noted in the question, this fox has larger, more pointy ears than an arctic fox, and the second picture shows it to have a longer muzzle as well.

Another clue is that these pictures were taken in the springtime or early summer (which you can tell from the new growth on the plants in the picture), and that arctic foxes are only completely white during the winter. During the spring, an arctic fox should look like this:

You can also easily tell that the fox in the picture is not an albino, because of the dark pigment in the nose and eyes.

The red fox has quite a few different color morphs, and this fox looks to be a white color morph.

In that diagram, this fox would be labelled as leucistic (white).

Here are some other white morph red foxes:


  1. Extreme panting helps fennec foxes keep their temperatures regulated when the heat climbs breathing rates climb from 23 breaths per minute to up to 690.
  2. Despite their diminutive stature, fennec foxes are surprisingly good at jumping. Adults can jump up to 3 feet (1 meter) when standing.
  • Least Concern
  • Near Threatened
  • Vulnerable
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild
  • Extinct
  • Data Deficient
  • Not Evaluated

12. Arctic Fox

Also known as the polar fox or snow fox, the Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) lives in the Arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere. The fox has several adaptations like a thick, warm fur that helps it survive in the cold environment of its range. The coloration of the Arctic fox changes to suit the season, going from white in the winter to a brownish-grey in the summer. The fox also has a roughly rounded shape to preserve body heat and its length ranges between 46 and 68 cm. Seabirds, waterfowls, voles, lemmings, fish, etc., constitute the prey of this species. The natural predators of this species include grizzly bears, golden eagles, wolves, red fox, and a few others. The species is labeled as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN.


Breeding

Females come into oestrus for 2 to 3 days over 2 to 3 weeks in winter. Males are fertile throughout winter and early spring. Gestation lasts 51 to 53 days and a litter of 3-5, blue-grey cubs is born in the den. Weaning occurs at 4 to 6 weeks by which time most of the grey colouring has gone.

The young appear from the den in late spring, at about 6 weeks of age. During this time daytime activity by adults feeding cubs is common. The cubs leave the den at about 10 to 12 weeks and by 6 months of age, are independent. Both sexes reach sexual maturity in their first year. Where there is low mortality in the family group, a proportion of the female population may not breed. These helper vixens may assist to raise the cubs. Once foxes are independent they begin to move or disperse out of the family group to find, establish and mark new territories. Most dispersal is within about 30 km, however, long distance dispersal of over 300 km is known to occur. The inherent ability of the red fox to rapidly establish new territories over short or long distances ensures they are perfectly adapted to compensate for any population decline due to control programs.

By day, the red fox usually rests in a hide, this may be a hollow log, tree, an enlarged rabbit burrow or dense undergrowth. By night they hunt and patrol their territory. The red fox is best described as an opportunistic predator and scavenger. Largely carnivorous, foxes eat a diet of 300 g to 450 g/day of small prey in the weight range of 5 to 15 kg, including native animals, birds, rabbits, house mice and carrion. They readily eat fruits such as wild blackberry and insects such as scarab or 'Christmas' beetles. When food is abundant, foxes will often bury or 'cache' excess food. When food is limited in winter, cached food may be recovered.


3. Where Do Cross Foxes Live?

Cross foxes live mainly in North America, in the northern regions, such as Canda and northern America.

Many of these foxes live in Canada and around 30% of their red fox populations have this mutation.

There were cross foxes in the northern united states such as in Utah, but it is believed that the fur trade wiped them out of those areas for the most part.

They have also been seen in parts of Europe such as Scandinavia, and Finland.


How many kit foxes did you find?

We found more individuals across a wider area of the Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area than expected! After analyzing 332 scats, we identified 56 males and 37 females—a total of 93 individuals. One interesting finding is that about half of the San Joaquin kit foxes there possess a unique variant of mitochondrial DNA that has not been found in kit foxes in other areas.

Genetic analysis also revealed that these kit foxes come from two distinct subpopulations. Why? Hills with unsuitable habitat separate the kit foxes in the Panoche Valley from the other subpopulation that lives adjacent to I-5, a major interstate highway.

Genetic population models indicated a conservative population estimate of 90 kit foxes in total, with 60 to 90 individuals in the Panoche Valley and 17 to 27 individuals in the I-5 area.


Kingdom: Animalia


Identification: The European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the largest member of the genus Vulpes. Its weight/size vary from 10-14kg, with males sometimes weighing as much as 30 lbs. Body length is typically 58-90 cm, with the tail length an additional 32-49 cm, and their height ranges between 35-40cm. It is usually reddish brown in color, yet can actually appear with silver, gray, white or black colorings. The tail is generally bushy in appearance and may carry a black and white tipped marking

Original Distribution: Original distribution from the Arctic to North Africa, Europe, Eurasia, Central America however it is now considered an established species in North America as well, although it originated as an introduced species.

Current Distribution: Retains original distributions noted above as well as Australia

Site and Date of Introduction: The European Red Fox was introduced in Australia in 1845.

Mode(s) of Introduction: Vulpes vulpes was intentionally brought to the continent of Australia mainly for hunting/sport purposes. There is also mention of it being introduced after 1845 for the purpose of controlling the brown hare numbers.

Reason(s) Why it has Become Established: Vulpes vulpes is an extraordinary adaptor. Although primarily a predator/carnivore it is also capable of omnivorous behavior, allowing it to forage successfully when prey is scarce. This also aids it’s survival in areas of urbanization, where it’s favored forest habitat has been reduced, as it is capable of foraging through human trash and pet food dishes for sustenance. It is a clever adaptor to habitat changes, and can survive/thrive in all but the most extreme dessert or tropical habitats. The presence of dingoes in a habitat may be one of the few non-climate controlled factors to limit the Red Foxes growth . Additional contributors to the Red Foxes success relate to the unpreparedness of Australia’s native wildlife for the introduction of this predator. The prey species Vulpes vulpes finds in Australia were/are completely defenseless, having to evolutionary experience with the fox. Moreover, the fox has no natural predator to keep its numbers in check.

Ecological Role: The Red Fox is primarily a predator. It may in fact be a keystone species in areas where it is distributed naturally, keeping the number of rodents and small mammals in check. In areas where it has been introduced, primarily Australia, its ecological role is as a destructive pest. The Red Fox also contributes to the economy via the legal and regulated trapping and trafficking in its fur in some areas, although this has lessened in the recent years.

Benefit(s): As noted above the Red Fox can provide benefits to ranchers, farmers, and urban dwellers by keeping the number of rodents in check. It may also provide balance from an ecological point of view, as a keystone predator for some of its natural range.

Threat(s): The Red Fox as an introduced species (Australia) is devastating to the native wildlife. The fox may be solely responsible for dozens of small mammal extinctions in Australia. Several species of endangered ground nesting birds, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles are currently threatened by the fox’s presence in Australia. The Red Fox also contributes to the spread of disease, due to the widespread nature of it’s range and its resistance to population control methods, it could additionally be a key carrier of rabies, were that disease to ever be introduced to Australia. The Red Fox also threatens local livestock due to predation.

Control Level Diagnosis: The outlook for the control of this pest in Australia is not bright. Due to its adaptability, it has become firmly entrenched throughout the main landmass of Australia. There have even been possible sightings in the island of Tasmania, which has thus far escaped invasion, much to the benefit of its unique ecology. Most control methods (see below for specific details) are expensive and not effective on a wide scale. However the need for immediate, successful control measures has probably never been greater, with the numbers of endangered species currently threatened by the fox steadily decreasing, as well as the potential for a rabies infected animal introduction increasing daily.

Control Method: There are some substantive control mechanisms currently being used, however they are expensive and not terribly successful on a wide scale measurement. The use of the poison 1080 in fox “baiting” is used in some areas of Australia where the poison will not affect the native wildlife. Immunocontraception is a method currently being tested that introduces a chemical that renders the foxes infertile, although this is proceeding slowly due to the recency of this solution, the need for further research, and lack of data that indicates how many foxes must be infertile to control the population. Offering a bounty on foxes has also been explored, although has not proven effective in reducing or controlling the Red Fox numbers due to its expense and inability to target fit foxes for removal. Finally, the fur trade was once a method of control but reduced demand has caused this solution to fall away as well.

(Illustrations and Content) Illustrations above are for informational purposes only for this assignment, and should not be published without consent of copyright holders.


Citing the Handbook

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, Gary E. Larson. 1994. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2 vols.

Rodents: How to control squirrels, voles, pocket gophers, porcupines, beavers, & other members of the rodent family.

Carnivores: Information on the control and management of coyotes, foxes, feral cats, mountain lions, mink, raccoons, skunks, and other meat-eating animals.

Other Mammals: Information on the control and management of bats, deer, elk, opossums, and species that fall under the other listed categories.

Birds: Information on the control and management of birds, such as pigeons, hawks, sparrows, blackbirds, kites, and more.


Central & North America Gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus

The Grey Fox is widespread in forest, woodland, brushland, shrubland, and rocky habitats in temperate, semi-arid and tropical regions of North America, and in northernmost montane regions of South America. Grey Fox are also increasingly common in urban environments. Available evidence suggests that Grey Fox numbers are probably stable across their range, and not subject to any range-wide threats causing marked declines in the overall population size despite being trapped for their pelts in many parts of their range. Available evidence suggests they are frequently incidentally captured when other more highly sought furbearers (e.g., Bobcat) are targeted.

Geographic Range Information

The Grey Fox ranges widely from the southern edge of central and eastern Canada, and Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Colorado in the United States south to northern Venezuela and Colombia and from the Pacific coast of the United States to the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. The species is not found in the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States, or in the Caribbean watersheds of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama (Fritzell and Haroldson 1982, Fuller and Cypher 2004). They have expanded their range in recent decades into habitats and areas either formerly unoccupied or from which they were extirpated.

Population trend:Stable

Population Information

The species is generally common, but appears to be restricted to locally dense habitats where it is not excluded by sympatric Coyotes (Canis latrans) and Bobcats (Lynx rufus) (Farias 2000b).

Habitat and Ecology Information

In eastern North America, the Grey Fox is most closely associated with deciduous/southern pine forests interspersed with some old fields and scrubby woodlands (Hall 1981). In western North America, it is commonly found in mixed agricultural/woodland/chaparral/riparian landscapes and shrub habitats. The species occupies forested areas and thick brush habitats in Central America and forested montane habitats in South America (Eisenberg 1989). Grey Foxes occur in semi-arid areas of the south-western USA and northern Mexico where cover is sufficient. They appear to do well both within and on the margins of some urban areas (Harrison 1997, Castellanos et al. 2008).

Threats Information

There are no major range-wide threats to the species, but extreme habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation may be problematic in regions where human habitation is increasing rapidly and habitat is converted for agricultural, industrial, and urban uses. However, they are overall relatively adaptable and have become increasingly common even in urban environments. Grey foxes have been involved in some large die-offs due to canine distemper virus in parts of their range, and may also be affected by canine parvovirus and rabies.

Use and Trade Information

Because of its relatively lower fur quality compared with other species, commercial use of the Grey Fox is somewhat limited. However, 90,604 skins were recorded taken in the United States during the 1991 and 1992 season (Linscombe 1994). In Mexico, Grey Foxes are frequently sold illegally as pets (Fuller and Cypher 2004).

Conservation Actions Information

Legislation
Not listed in the CITES Appendices. The Grey Fox is legally protected as a harvested species in Canada and the United States (Fritzell 1987).

Presence in protected areas
Grey Foxes occur in numerous protected areas throughout their range, such as Big Bend NP, San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain NP and Everglades and Dry Tortugas NP, and Adirondack NP (Fuller and Cypher 2004).

Presence in captivity
A number of foxes are held in captivity, although there may be more in the hands of private collections/individuals who do not report to ISIS. Grey Foxes appear to fare well in captivity and commonly are on display at zoos and wildlife farms.


What species of fox is this? - Biology

RANGE: Circumpolar Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, North America, Greenland and Iceland, and islands of the Arctic, North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

A TRUE ARCTIC DENIZEN. The Arctic fox inhabits two of the coldest places on the planet — the Arctic tundra and sea ice. Well adapted to its environment, the Arctic fox is shielded from sub-zero winter temperatures by its thick, white fur coat. To help it retain heat, the Arctic fox has a compact body shape with short legs and ears, and countercurrent heat exchange in the circulation of its paws to help maintain its body temperature while it walks on frozen ground. Foxes seek shelter in snow burrows during unusually cold weather, and can lower their metabolic rate during cold snaps and food shortages to retain heat. In summer, Arctic foxes become dark grey to brownish blue to blend into the tundra, and turn their attention to raising young. Fox pairs rear litters averaging six to seven pups in dens on the tundra, some of which have been used by foxes for several hundred years. Arctic foxes typically live three to six years in the wild but with luck can reach 10 years of age.

The Arctic fox specializes in eating tundra-dwelling rodents including lemmings and voles — so much so that fox population cycles often mirror those of their prey. When lemmings are plentiful, Arctic foxes tend to survive better and have large litters that lead to peaks in fox numbers. However, in years when lemmings are scarce, foxes are more vulnerable to starvation and resort to eating other foods from birds to fish to carrion. In lean years, the sea ice provides an important foraging ground offering food resources that can help foxes survive the winter. Foxes have been found to roam great distances over pack ice, often following polar bears to scavenge their seal kills. Some foxes are able to capture ringed seal pups in their snow dens on the sea ice as an extra food source.

POPULATIONS IN TROUBLE. European Arctic fox populations in Sweden, Finland and Norway were decimated by hunting for their fur in the early 20th century and have failed to recover despite total protection since 1940. Numbering around only 150 foxes, European populations are threatened with extirpation. Although the Arctic fox in the rest of its range is still considered fairly abundant, Arctic foxes have been disappearing from the southern edge of the tundra around the globe. This northward retreat raises cause for concern over the fox’s future.

HOW DOES CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT THE ARCTIC FOX?

The Arctic fox faces a multitude of threats from climate change: its sea ice and tundra habitat are shrinking, its lemming prey are becoming less abundant in some areas, and it faces increased competition and displacement by the red fox which is moving northward as temperatures warm.

LOSS OF SEA ICE AND TUNDRA HABITAT. Because sea-ice habitat provides important winter food resources for Arctic foxes, especially in low lemming years, the loss of sea-ice foraging grounds is likely to result in lower winter survival and reproductive success for Arctic foxes. [1, 2] Desperate foxes deprived of the sea ice may resort to searching for food in human settlements and industrial sites, which increases the potential for conflicts with humans and often ends in foxes being killed. As temperatures warm, shrubs and trees are also moving into the tundra, converting the Arctic fox’s lichen and moss-dominated habitat into shrublands and woodlands. [3] In the Alaskan tundra, dwarf birch, willow, and white spruce have increased markedly over the past 50 years.

LESS LEMMING PREY. Because Arctic foxes rely heavily on lemmings for food, climate change impacts on lemmings can have profound effects on foxes. During the winter, lemmings live in spaces under the snow that provide insulation from the cold, protection from predators, and access to plant foods. If snow conditions are good, lemmings prosper and can even get a head start in raising young. However, in Norway, scientists have found that rising temperatures and changing humidity in recent decades have created cycles of thawing and icing in winter that result in poor snow conditions for lemmings. [4] These poor snow conditions have dampened lemming population cycles, creating a new pattern where lemmings never reach peak numbers. Scientists believe that the absence of regularly occurring lemming peaks is likely responsible for the breeding failures and dramatic declines in Arctic foxes in Norway. [5] Future climate change is likely to dampen lemming population cycles across wider areas of the Arctic.

RED FOX COMPETITION. The Arctic fox has a fierce competitor [5] — the red fox — a dominant, larger-bodied fox that can kill or expel the Arctic fox in areas of overlap. Red foxes historically lived south of the Arctic fox’s tundra habitat. However, red foxes have been moving northward at the same time that Arctic foxes have been retreating from the southern edge of the tundra. [6] Climate change appears to be a leading factor driving the northward movement of the red fox. Warming is converting the tundra to shrublands, which are favored by the red fox. Warming-related reductions in lemming populations are also lowering lemming grazing pressure on the tundra, favoring the shrublands that encourage the northward invasion of red foxes. [7]


Watch the video: All Fox Species Genus Vulpes - Species List (August 2022).