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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.