As Inola explained in the video, we’re launching a new program called Vulpinology and it’s all about the fox! The world “vulpine” means ‘fox-like” and the suffix ‘-ology’ means ‘the study of,” and th at’s the goal of this program! While our live program will be interactive and hands on, our online version will consist of short introductory videos and a post about each species of fox. We’ll start with the six main species that can be found in North America.
So let’s dig right in and get the scoop of our first fox on the list: The Swift Fox!
The Swift Fox (Vulpes velox)
The Swift Fox is the smallest fox species in North America. Coming in around the size of your average house cat and weighing between four and six pounds, it’s no wonder why this is one of the speediest foxes, with a sprint that can reach 30mph. Talk about being light on their feet!
The Swift Fox at one point had a large range of habitat, spreading across a big portion of the grasslands of the US and into southern Canada but as their habitat shrank due to the advancement of human settlement, the population of the swift fox declined. It also didn’t help that they made for easy prey for coyotes as their population grew considerably.
As a result, this fox has been on the endangered species list and remains a protected specie. There have been recovery efforts by both the government and various recovery teams since the mid-1990s. It has been a success so far! Currently, thanks to captive breeding programs and other efforts, the swift fox’s population is rising once again. It might not be long before they move off of the endangered list.
Like all foxes, this specie is omnivorous, which means they eat a wide variety of both plants and animals. Being a smaller fox, they tend to specialize in the hunting of mice, voles, small snakes, and various insects, but can also go after prairie dogs, rabbits as well as various berries and root plants.
And, like all foxes, both parents look after and raise the kits until they are old enough to fend for themselves. An average litter can have up to eight kits! Typically, they are born in the spring and are ready to venture out on their own by the end of the summer or early fall.
Like some foxes, these little guys are typically nocturnal, hunting for food mostly between dusk and dawn. They might make exceptions, however, if they have a little of kits to feed. Hungry babies will force the parents out to gather food during the day.
Stay tuned to our blog and various pages for our next episode of Vulpinology! Until then, stay wild!