Vulpes macrotis or the Kit Fox is a small fox that can be found in North America and Mexico and can be recognised by it’s big ears and grey and rust coloured fur. Usually the male is slightly bigger than the female. The Kit Fox is actually the smallest type of fox in north America and can be compared to roughly the size of a pet cat. In the winter, the Kit Fox will be a greyish colour across their backs, which turns to a reddish tan during the summer. The Kit Fox also has a big bushy tail with a black tip at the end. The big ears help them to dissipate heat which is helpful in the hot American deserts.
The Kit Foxes are quite adaptable and will make their homes anywhere they feel comfortable. These can very from the traditional underground den to structures created by man, such as drains, pipe networks and in holes underneath buildings.
Mating season for the Kit Fox is between December-March and a typical litter will result in 3-5 cubs. Special dens are created for the cubs to be raised and often the Kit Fox will created multiple dens with multiple rooms. The young will tend to leave the family after around 5months, although some young females have been known to stay longer. The Kit Fox will normally grow to around 2.5kgs and life expectancy is around 7 years.
In terms of diet, the Kit Fox is mainly carnivorous, preying upon squirrels, small birds, rodents and rats. They will also eat vegetation and insects if the presence of meat is scarce and will mainly hunt at night.
The biggest threats to the Kit Fox are the bigger Red Foxes and coyotes. Man has also had an impact on the Kit Fox population in terms of traffic, hunting and poisoning and much of the fox’s traditional habitats have been destroyed. Fields converted into homes for grazing animals, means that much of the Kit Fox’s natural prey has been destroyed. Because of the decline in numbers, the Kit Fox has actually been put on the endangered list in California.