Curiosities and Habits of the Silver Fox
When we think of this type of canid we quickly envision a rather cunning animal and we feel the need to exercise caution. Well, this is quite appropriate when it comes to the silver fox.
The silver fox is quite appreciated by the fur industry due to its striking colors. This is basically the most outstanding feature of this animal.
Beyond human exploitation for aesthetic purposes, foxes have always played an important role in fables and stories. Do you know any of the habits of foxes? Continue reading to find out more about this, as well as other interesting facts about this enigmatic, intelligent animal.
The silver fox
The scientific name for the silver fox is Urocyon cinereoargenteus. The name refers to its ashy fur.
Their relationship with dogs
People often mistake foxes for small dogs. This is because this quadruped mammal is also a member of the Canidae family.
However, dogs belong to the genus Canis, and foxes are divided into various genera. For example, the red fox is known as Vulpes vulpes, while the silver fox is part of the genus Urocyon.
This animal is small and long and has a long, dense tail. Their legs are relatively short in relation to the rest of their body.
In addition, their muzzle is pointed and short; they have large eyes, and their ears are large in comparison to the rest of their proportions. They’re excellent tree climbers thanks to their claws.
The coat of the silver fox
It can be of different shades, depending on the species a fox belongs to. It’s grey, in the case of the silver fox – hence its name. However, this animal usually has a mixture of different shades distributed in different parts of their body:
- The ash color extends to the area of the back mainly
- Also, the belly area has a reddish-brown tone
- The legs, the back of the ears, and the sides of the neck have a yellowish shade
- There are white areas along the abdomen, up to the throat, and the nape of the neck
- Finally, its long, fluffy tail has a black stripe along the top to the tip
There doesn’t seem to be sexual dimorphism at first sight. However, there’s a feature that differentiates males and females. No, it isn’t their genitals – males are usually larger on average.
This mammal is omnivorous, and its diet is quite varied.
They mainly munch on small vertebrates; the most common among them are rabbits, squirrels, and rats. Their diet also includes other prey such as insects and birds. In contrast, they also eat different types of vegetables and fruit such as berries.
The habitat of the silver fox
In regard to their habitat, these animals prefer places with dense vegetation such as forests and areas with streams. This is because they’re loners and opt for territories with water sources nearby.
Thus, they inhabit some of the forested regions of the south of the USA all the way to South America. In fact, you could find one as far as Venezuela.
Researchers have observed that the silver fox is a nocturnal animal. This implies they aren’t very active during the day and thus remain in their burrows until it gets dark.
As for its burrows, these are usually under rocks or in holes in abandoned buildings. We mentioned above that they’re excellent climbers. This ability helps them escape from predators such as coyotes, cougars, and golden eagles.
Conservation status of the silver fox
The conservation status of this animal isn’t serious and their category falls in the “Least Concern” section of the Red List of species. Its populations in the wild are stable, according to their category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This is because individuals in the wild aren’t usually exposed to the most common risk factors for their species. Even so, there are some parameters that can decrease their population numbers:
- Loss, fragmentation, or degradation of their habitat. Humans are usually responsible for these events. This is because they tend to turn these areas into industrial, agricultural, or urban zones.
- Viral diseases. This animal has had significant casualties due to viruses such as canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and rabies.
As you can see, the silver fox adapts well to changes. This feature is a great evolutionary advantage over their congeners and other species, as climate change promotes the permanence of more generalist species.
The world’s biodiversity is made up of many species, all of which are relevant to their well-being. Our duty and responsibility are to protect nature, with all its species and ecosystems.