Volpes velox

Range: Great Plains region of N. America; range extends north to the central part of Alberta, and south to Texas. Healthy populations are currently found in Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. Smaller subpopulations are found in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Habitat: Deserts and short-grass

Conservation status: Least concern. Once severely endangered and extirpated in some places. Currently inhabit only 40% of their previous range. Listed as endangered in Nebraska, threatened in South Dakota, and extirpated in North Dakota. In Montana there are no known populations but, as new information is gathered, populations may be rediscovered. Pueblo Zoo participates in Swift Fox SSP.

Swift Fox

  • • Small fox the size of a domestic cat; closely related to the Kit fox.
    • Have black marks on the sides of the snout, and the tail is tipped with black.
    • Diet: jackrabbits, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, small rodents, rabbits, ground-nesting birds, and insects, and some grasses and fruits
    • Generally, live in pairs, or sometimes threes with one male and two females.
    • Dig their own dens in sandy soil on open prairies, in plowed fields, or along fences.
    • Mating occurs in the latter part of Dec., Jan., and Feb. During this time there is much vocalization.
    • Gestation period is approximately 51 days. Litter sizes average four to five. Young are altricial with eyes and ears shut until 2 weeks of age. Both parents help raise the young. They appear above ground between four and five weeks.
    • Primary predators are eagles, coyotes, and humans (poisoning, hunting, and road kill)
    • Population density appears to cycle with that of rabbits.
    • Lifespan: Few adults in the wild live past their fourth year, while captive animals live and reproduce a year or two longer.

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