Rüppell's fox

Rüppell's fox (Vulpes rueppellii), also spelled Rueppell's fox, is a species of fox living in North Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia.[1] It is named after the German naturalist Eduard Rüppell. This fox is also called the sand fox, but this terminology is confusing because the corsac fox (V. corsac) and the Tibetan sand fox (V. ferrilata) are also known as "sand foxes".

Rüppell's fox[1]
Rüppell's fox
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Vulpes
Species:
V. rueppellii
Binomial name
Vulpes rueppellii
(Schinz, 1825)
Ruppel's Fox area
Rüppell's fox range

Description

Rüppell's fox is a small fox, measuring 66 to 74 cm (26 to 29 in) in total length, including a 27- to 30-cm tail. Males appear somewhat larger than females, but both sexes are reported to have an average weight of 1.7 kg (3.7 lb). The coat is sandy in color, ticked with numerous white hairs, and fading from reddish along the middle of the back to pure white on the animal's underparts and on the tip of its tail. The head has a more rusty tone on the muzzle and forehead, with dark brown patches on the sides of the muzzle, stretching up towards the eyes. The chin and the sides of the face are white. The whiskers are long, reaching 7 cm (2.8 in), and the tail is bushy.[3]

Rüppell's fox has fur on the pads on its feet,[3] that possibly helps distribute its weight and move easily on sand, and keeps the hot sand from burning its feet. Similar to other desert-dwelling foxes, Rüppell's fox has large ears to cool it off. Although adults are too large to confuse with fennec foxes, which live in the same area, young Rüppell's foxes can be confused with adults of that species. The larger ears, however, make them easy to distinguish from red and pale foxes, which also live in some the same areas. In addition, the coat of a Rüppell's fox is much paler than that of a red fox, while pale foxes lack the white tips on their tails.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Rüppell's fox is found across North Africa south of the Atlas Mountains, from Mauritania and Morocco in the west to Egypt and Djibouti in the east. It is also found in the Arabian Peninsula southwards from Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq, and as far east as Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Within this region, it prefers sandy or rocky deserts, but may also be found in semiarid steppes and sparse scrub.[2]

Behavior

Vulpes&rupelliskulls
Comparison between the skulls of a red fox (left) and a Rüppell's fox
Vulpesrupelliskull
A Rüppell's fox skull

Rüppell's foxes are monogamous and either crepuscular or nocturnal, sheltering during the day in dens. Outside of the breeding season, these are small dens that can hold only one adult fox, and the animal typically changes dens every five days or so. Breeding dens are larger, and occupied by a pair of adults and their kits. Such dens can sometimes have more than one entrance, although this is unusual.[4] Most dens are dug under rocks or trees.

Rüppell's foxes have anal scent glands, which are used in greeting one another, and to spray predators. Females also use their scent glands to mark the cubbing den. They make a series of short barks during mating and, at other times, can also produce hisses, trills, and sharp whistles. They have been reported to wag their tails, like domestic dogs.[3]

Rüppell's foxes occupy distinct territories, which they mark with urine, but not with dung as red foxes do. The territories of the members of a mated pair overlap almost completely, but are entirely separate from those of any neighboring pairs. These territories are maintained throughout the year, although the pair occupy separate dens outside of the mating season. The size of the territories varies with the local terrain, but has been reported as around 70 km2 (27 sq mi) in Oman, with those of males being larger, on average, than those of females.[4] The foxes range widely during their nocturnal foraging, travelling over 9 km (5.6 mi) in a night.[3]

Rüppell's fox was pushed to living in the desert biome due to competition with its larger relative, the red fox. Its only natural predators are the steppe eagle and the eagle-owl.[3]

Diet

Rüppell's foxes are omnivores, with a diet that varies considerably depending on what is locally available. In some regions, they are reported to be mainly insectivorous, especially feeding on beetles and orthopterans, while in others, small mammals, lizards, and birds form a larger part of their diet. Plants eaten include grasses and desert succulents, along with fruits such as dates, and they have also been known to scavenge from human garbage.[3][4]

Reproduction

Mating occurs in November, a few weeks after the female has prepared her breeding den. Litters up to six kits, although more usually just two or three, are born after a gestation period around 52–53 days.[3] The young are born blind,[3] and are weaned at 6–8 weeks of age. They reach independence at about four months, when they may travel up to 48 km (30 mi) in search of a suitable territory. They can live an average of seven years in the wild, but have been reported to live up to 12 years in captivity.[3]

Interaction with humans

For the past 100 years, Rüppell's foxes have been treated like a pest. They prey on many livestock animals in Arabia, including chickens, lambs, and young goats.

Subspecies

Although some authors consider Rüppell's fox to be monotypic, others list up to five subspecies:[1]

  • V. r. caesia
  • V. r. cyrenaica
  • V. r. rueppelli
  • V. r. sabaea
  • V. r. zarudneyi

Philately of the Rüppell's fox

The Libyan General Posts and Telecommunications Company (GPTC), in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature, dedicated a postal stamp issue to Rüppell's fox on May 1, 2008. The issue is made of a set of four stamps printed in minisheets of two sets. The issue was completed with a special first day of issue cover having a special postmark.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Cuzin, F.; Lenain, D.M.; Jdeidi, T.; Masseti, M.; Nader, I.; de Smet, K. & Murdoch, J. (2008). "Vulpes rueppelli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is listed as least concern
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Larivière, S. & Seddon, P.J. (2001). "Vulpes rueppelli". Mammalian Species: Number 678: pp. 1–5. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2001)678<0001:VR>2.0.CO;2.
  4. ^ a b c Lindsay, I.M. & Macdonald, D.W. (1986). "Behaviour and ecology of the Rüppell's fox Vulpes rueppelli, in Oman". Mammalia. 50 (4): 461–474. doi:10.1515/mamm.1986.50.4.461.
  5. ^ "libyan-stamps.com". www.libyan-stamps.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2017-09-21.

External links

'Uruq Bani Ma'arid

Uruq Bani Ma'arid is a protected area in southern Saudi Arabia, located on the western edge of the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest sandy desert in the world. The protected area is divided into three sections; a core nature reserve; a zone where controlled grazing is permitted; and a hunting zone.'Uruq Bani Ma'arid is in an area in which the Arabian oryx used to live before it became extinct in the wild. The reserve has been chosen for the reintroduction of oryx that have been bred in a captive breeding programme. It has also been selected as being suitable for the re-establishment of herds of Arabian sand gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa marica), mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella) and ostrich (Struthio camelus), all of which have historically inhabited the area.

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Cheesman's gerbil

Cheesman's gerbil (Gerbilus cheesmani) is a small rodent in the subfamily Gerbillinae of the family Muridae. It is distributed mainly in Arabian Peninsula to southwestern Iran. It has orange-brown fur, white underparts, large eyes and a very long tail.

Corsac fox

The corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), also known simply as a corsac, is a medium-sized fox found in steppes, semi-deserts and deserts in Central Asia, ranging into Mongolia and northeastern China. Since 2004, it has been classified as least concern by IUCN, but populations fluctuate significantly, and numbers can drop tenfold within a single year.It is also known as the steppe fox, and sometimes referred to as the "sand fox", but this terminology is confusing because two other species, the Tibetan sand fox and Rüppell's fox are also sometimes known by this name. The word "corsac" is derived from the Russian name for the animal, "korsák" (корса́к), derived ultimately from Turkic "karsak". The corsac fox is threatened by hunting for the fur trade.

Fennec fox

The Fennec fox, or fennec (Vulpes zerda), is a small crepuscular fox found in the Sahara of North Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, South West Israel (Arava desert) and the Arabian desert. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat. Its name comes from the Berber word (fanak), which means fox, and the species name zerda comes from the Greek word xeros which means dry, referring to the fox's habitat. The fennec is the smallest species of canid. Its coat, ears, and kidney functions have adapted to high-temperature, low-water, desert environments. Also, its hearing is sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. It mainly eats insects, small mammals, and birds.

The fennec has a life span of up to 14 years in captivity. Its main predators are the African varieties of eagle owl, jackals, and other large mammals. Families of fennecs dig out dens in the sand for habitation and protection, which can be as large as 120 m2 (1,292 sq ft) and adjoin the dens of other families. Precise population figures are not known but are estimated from the frequency of sightings; these indicate that the animal is currently not threatened by extinction. Knowledge of social interactions is limited to information gathered from captive animals. The species is usually assigned to the genus Vulpes; however, this is debated due to differences between the fennec fox and other fox species. The fennec's fur is prized by the indigenous peoples of North Africa, and in some parts of the world, the animal is considered an exotic pet.

Lutrogale

Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.

Mephitis (genus)

The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.

Mustelinae

Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).

Nyctereutes

Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.

Paradoxurus

Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:

the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.

Pusa

Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.

The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.

Only the Caspian seal is endangered.

Sand fox

Sand fox can refer to any of these animal species:

Corsac fox

Fennec fox

Rüppell's fox

Tibetan sand fox

Speothos

Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.

Tibetan sand fox

The Tibetan sand fox (Vulpes ferrilata) is a species of true fox endemic to the high Tibetan Plateau, Ladakh plateau, Nepal, China, Sikkim, and Bhutan, up to altitudes of about 5300 m. It is classed as of "least concern" for extinction by the IUCN, on account of its widespread range in the Tibetan Plateau's steppes and semi-deserts.

It is sometimes referred to as the Tibetan fox, or simply as the sand fox, but this terminology is confusing because the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), which lives in arid environments north and west of the Tibetan Plateau, is often called the "sand fox" or "Tibetan fox" as well. The Rüppell's fox (Vulpes rueppellii) is also known as the "sand fox".

Vulpes

Vulpes is a genus of the Canidae. The members of this genus are colloquially referred to as true foxes, meaning they form a proper clade. The word "fox" occurs on the common names of species. True foxes are distinguished from members of the genus Canis, such as dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals, by their smaller size (5–11 kg) and flatter skulls. They have black, triangular markings between their eyes and noses, and the tips of their tails are often a different color from the rest of their pelts. The typical lifespan for this genus is between two and four years, but can reach up to a decade.For animals commonly known as "foxes", but which are not true foxes, see Fox#Classification.

Vulpes riffautae

Vulpes riffautae is an extinct species of fox from the late Miocene of Chad (approximately 7 ma). Fossils of V. riffautae potentially represent the earliest record of the dog family, Canidae, in the Old World. V. riffautae was intermediate in size between Rüppell's fox (Vulpes rueppellii) and the fennec fox (V. zerda).

Wadi El Rayan

Wadi El Rayan is a unique nature protectorate in Faiyum Governorate, Egypt, under the supervision of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs (EEAA).

Wild Arabia

Wild Arabia is a British nature documentary series, first broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD from 22 February to 8 March 2013. Produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and narrated by Alexander Siddig, the three-part series focuses on the landscapes, wildlife and people of the Arabian Peninsula. Each episode is followed by a ten-minute Wild Arabia Diaries segment, illustrating the techniques used to film a particular subject.

The series forms part of the Natural History Unit's "Continents" strand. It was preceded by Madagascar in 2011 and followed by Wild Brazil in 2014.

The series premiered in Australia on 19 July 2015 on Nat Geo Wild.

Wildlife of Egypt

The wildlife of Egypt is composed of the flora and fauna of this country in northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia, and is substantial and varied. Apart from the fertile Nile Valley, which bisects the country from south to north, the majority of Egypt's landscape is desert, with a few scattered oases. It has long coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. Each geographic region has a diversity of plants and animals each adapted to its own particular habitat.

Extant Carnivora species

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.