Kit Fox

Kit foxes live in the dry desert and scrub areas of the high plateaux and valleys beside the Rocky Mountains in the United States. They generally live in breeding pairs, but social bonds are quite loose and pairs often split. The female does not leave her den - made in a disused burrow - while she is suckling her litter of four or five cubs. During this time she relies on the male for food, which is generally small rodents and rabbits, insects and fruit.

The kit fox's large ears are lined with blood vessels that radiate heat to cool the animal down in hot desert climes.

After three or four months, the young are strong enough to travel with their parents to other dens in their territory. A kit fox family’s territory overlaps widely with those of other groups in the area. The size of the territory depends on the climate. Desert territories have to be large to supply enough food for the family. The kit fox is very similar in appearance and behaviour to the swift fox (Vulpes velox) which lives on the great plains farther east. It is possible that hybridization takes place where the ranges of these two dogs overlap.

Distribution: Western United States.

Habitat: Desert and scrub.

Food: Rodents, pikas, insects and fruit.

Size: 38 - 50 cm (15 - 19.5 in); 1.9 - 2.2 kg (4.25 - 4.75 lb).

Maturity: 1 year.

Breeding: Litters of 4 - 5 cubs.

Life span: 15 years.

Status: Vulnerable.