SWIFT FOX

BASIC FACTS ABOUT SWIFT FOX

The swift fox is a small fox around the size of a domestic housecat and is found in the western grasslands

of North America, such as Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

 

DIET

They will consume just about anything which is part of the reason that the Swift Fox is able to survive.

They will eat grass and fruit when they are able to find it. They also feed on small mammals and insects. Depending on the location they may eat rodents, squirrels, and birds. They can find spiders and grasshoppers during certain times of the year.

Fruits and nuts are items that they love to consume too. When these items are available they will rush to

eat them instead of other food sources. They have a good idea of where these items will be located

so they can return to them annually.

 

POPULATION

Swift fox population numbers in the wild are unknown, but they are found in less than 40% of their historic range.

 

THREATS

One of the main threats to the swift fox is habitat loss as a result of the conversion of grasslands for agriculture. In the past, they were impacted by trapping and incidental poisoning intended for wolves and coyotes. As part of federal eradication campaigns, poisoning also reduced swift fox food sources, such as prairie dogs and ground squirrels.

Climate change looms as an additional threat to the swift fox. According to one projection, suitable grassland habitat for the species in Colorado and New Mexico could shrink by 27% to 63% under various emissions scenarios.

 

HABITAT & RANGE

The swift fox is native to the Great Plains region of North America. Today the swift fox can be found in fragmented, smaller populations in portions of Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Historically, their range included prairies in central North America, extending north to central Alberta, Canada, and south to central Texas, east-west from western Iowa to Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

 

BEHAVIOR

They received the name "swift" fox because of their speediness. Swift foxes are nocturnal, vocal and non-territorial. They spend more time underground in their burrows than any other canid. Although they are social animals, they keep one mate throughout their lifetime.

 

BREEDING

The breeding season for Swift Fox depends on the location where it resides. It can start as early as December or be as late as March. As a result of this some young are born in March and others not until May. The young grow very fast and by the time they are 7 weeks old they are weaned and out there on their own.

 

Mating Season: December to February.
Gestation: 51 days.
Litter Size: 4-5 kits.

The kits disperse in September and October.

 

HEIGHT 

12 inches at the shoulder
 

LENGTH  

23-34 inches from

nose to tail-tip
 

WEIGHT  

5-7 lbs
 

LIFESPAN  

3-4 years in the wild

DID YOU

KNOW?

  • Swift foxes have been known to run at speeds of more than 30 mph!
     

  • The swift fox (Vulpes velox) is one of the smallest and lessor known foxes in North America.