South American Gray Fox

South American Gray Fox

Patagonian fox, Chilla, Gray zorro

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Lycalopex griseus
Population size
Unknown
WEIGHT
2.5-5.5 kg
LENGTH
65-110 cm

The South American gray fox is a species of the "false" foxes native to the southern part of South America. Their head is reddish-brown flecked with white. The ears are large and there is a distinct black spot on the chin. The pelage is brindled, with agouti guard hairs and a short, dense pale undercoat. The underparts are pale grey. The limbs are tawny and the thighs are crossed by a dark bar. The long, bushy tail of these animals has a dark dorsal stripe and dark tip with a paler, mottled underside.

Distribution

South American gray foxes are found in the Southern Cone of South America, particularly in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. They live in a variety of habitats, from the warm, arid scrublands of the Argentine uplands and the cold, arid Patagonian steppe to the forests of southernmost Chile. These foxes generally inhabit plains and low mountains and prefer shrubby open areas.

South American Gray Fox habitat map

Geography

Continents

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

South American gray foxes are nocturnal creatures. They live in pairs and usually, one breeding pair maintains their territory throughout the year. However, during the winter these animals tend to lead a solitary life.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

South American gray foxes are omnivores and their diet varies in different parts of their range and at different times of the year. It consists mainly of mammals, birds, arthropods, bird eggs, reptiles, fruit, and carrion.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
March
PREGNANCY DURATION
2 months
BABY CARRYING
2-4 kits
FEMALE NAME
vixen
MALE NAME
reynard, tod
BABY NAME
kit, cub, pup

South American gray foxes are monogamous which means that both males and females have only one partner and live in pairs. Some males, however, may mate with other subordinate females which will then help to rear the kits of the primary female. These animals breed in late austral fall, around March. After a gestation period of 2 months, two to four kits are born in a den. Both parents help to care for the young. When the kits are 4-6 weeks old, they start to leave the den with their mothers. Reproductive maturity is reached at 1 year age.

Population

Population threats

The main threat to these animals is hunting for their pelt. The foxes sometimes go near human habitations in search of food such as chickens and sheep and thus, are perceived as livestock and poultry predators by many rural people in Argentina and Chile.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the South American gray fox total population size, but this animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

These animals plan an important role in the ecosystem they live in. They are useful as scavengers of carrion and as dispersers of the seeds of the fruit they eat.

References

1. South American Gray Fox on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_American_gray_fox
2. South American Gray Fox on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/6927/111975602

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