Swift fox

The swift fox (Vulpes velox) is a small light orange-tan fox around the size of a domestic cat found in the western grasslands of North America, such as Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma[3] and Texas.[1] It also lives in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada, where it was previously extirpated.[2] It is closely related to the kit fox and the two species are sometimes known as subspecies of Vulpes velox because hybrids of the two species occur naturally where their ranges overlap.

The swift fox lives primarily in short-grass prairies and deserts. It became nearly extinct in the 1930s as a result of predator control programs, but was successfully reintroduced later. Currently, the conservation status of the species is considered by the IUCN as Least Concern owing to stable populations elsewhere.[2]

Like most canids, the swift fox is an omnivore, and its diet includes grasses and fruits as well as small mammals, carrion, and insects. In the wild, its lifespan is three to six years, and it breeds once annually, from late December to March, depending on the geographic region. Pups are born anywhere from March to mid-May, and are weaned at six to seven weeks old.

The swift fox is closely related genetically to the kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), but occupies a different geographical range. The two have historically been regarded as different species for reasons basically related to size: the kit fox is slightly smaller than the swift fox, and the former has a narrower snout. However, hybrids between the two occur naturally where their ranges overlap, and some mammalogists classify the two as subspecies of a single species, usually treated as Vulpes velox (with the swift fox being described as V. velox velox and the kit fox as V. velox macrotis).[4] The molecular genetics evidence is not conclusive however, and some of those who have used it continue to treat the swift fox and kit fox as separate species.[5]

Swift fox[1]
Swift Fox Colorado Wolf and Wildlife cropped
Swift fox at Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Rescue Center
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Vulpes
V. velox
Binomial name
Vulpes velox
(Say, 1823)
Vulpes velox map
Swift fox range
  • hebes Merriam, 1902


The swift fox has a dark, grayish, tan coloration that extends to a yellowish tan color across its sides and legs. The throat, chest, and belly range from pale yellow to white in color. Its tail is black-tipped, and it has black patches on its muzzle. Its ears are noticeably large. It is about 12 inches (30 cm) in height, and 31 inches (79 cm) long, measuring from the head to the tip of the tail, or about the size of a domestic cat. Its weight ranges from around five to seven pounds.[6] Males and females are similar in appearance, although males are slightly larger.[7]

Distribution and habitat

The swift fox lives in short-grass prairies and western grassland . They form their dens in sandy soil on open prairies, in plowed fields, or along fences.[7] It is native to the Great Plains region of North America, and its range extends north to the central part of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, and south to Texas. It reaches from western Iowa to Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana.[6]

Conservation status

The swift fox was once a severely endangered species, due to predator control programs in the 1930s that were aimed mostly at the gray wolf and the coyote.[7] The species was extirpated from Canada by 1938,[2] but a reintroduction program started in 1983[8] has been successful in establishing small populations in southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan, despite the fact that many reintroduced individuals do not survive their first year.[7] Nonetheless, by 1996, 540 foxes had been released around the Alberta-Saskatchewan border and Milk River Ridge areas, parts of the species' original native range.[9] Four years later, those introduced foxes had tripled in number, making the program one of the most successful endangered species reintroduction programs in the world.[10] In May 1999, the Species at Risk Act listed the swift fox as an endangered species in Canada, giving the species further protection for growth.[11] A small, but stable and growing population continues to live freely in the southeastern regions of Alberta, and southwestern regions of Saskatchewan.

Exact population numbers of the swift fox are unknown, but it is known that they currently inhabit only 40% of their historic range.[6] In addition to its populations in Canada, there are also swift fox populations in the United States, ranging from South Dakota to Texas. In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the fox warranted an endangered listing, but other higher priority species precluded its listing.[12] This prompted state wildlife agencies within the fox's range to create the Swift Fox Conservation Team, which worked to implement better swift fox management and monitoring programs.[12] Populations in the United States are stable in the central part of its range,[7] and it is not considered endangered in the United States. The IUCN Red List characterizes it as of Least Concern.[2]


Vulpes velox2
A swift fox napping during the day in a zoo.

In the wild, the swift fox usually lives 3–6 years, but may live up to 14 years in captivity. It is primarily nocturnal, spending only evenings and nighttime above ground in the summer. Daytime activities are usually confined to the den, but it has been known to spend the warm midday period above ground during the winter.[7] The swift fox is more heavily dependent on its den than most North American canids, using them as shelter from predators. These dens are usually underground burrows that are two to four meters in length.[7] It has been known to run very fast, at speeds of over 50 km/h (30 mph).[7] or up to 60 km/h (40 mph) [13] The coyote is the swift fox's main predator, but often chooses not to consume the swift fox.[14] Other predators include the badger, golden eagle, and bobcat.[14] It is also vulnerable to trapping and poisoning, as well as death on highways.[15]


Swift foxes are a socially monogamous species, although multiple breeding strategies have been observed.[16] The adult swift fox's breeding season varies with region. In the southern United States, it mates between December and February with pups born in March and early April, while in Canada, the breeding season begins in March, and pups are born in mid-May. The male swift fox matures and may mate at one year, while the female usually waits until her second year before breeding. Adults live in pairs, and although some individuals mate for life, others choose different partners each year. Gestation takes around 51 days, and four to five kits are born.[6][7]

The swift fox only has one litter annually, but may occupy up to thirteen dens in one year, moving because prey is scarce or because skin parasites build up inside the den. Sometimes it makes other burrows from other bigger animals, even though it is completely capable of digging one on its own. Pups are born in the den and typically remain there for approximately one month. A newborn pup's eyes and ears remain closed for ten to fifteen days, leaving it dependent on the mother for food and protection during this time. It is usually weaned around six or seven weeks old and remains with its parents until fall.[7] Recent research has shown that social organization in the swift fox is unusual among canids, since it is based on the females.[17] Females maintain territories at all times, but males emigrate if the resident female is killed or removed.[17]


Like most foxes, the swift fox is an omnivore. Rabbits, mice, ground squirrels, birds, insects and lizards are staples.[6] Grasses and fruits round out its diet. However, like any efficient forager, the swift fox takes advantage of seasonal foods.[7] During the summer, adults eat large amounts of insects, including beetles and grasshoppers, and feed their young with larger prey items. Deer and other carrion killed by other animals may also be important food sources.


  1. ^ a b 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 c d e Moehrenschlager, A. & Sovada, M. (2016). Vulpes velox. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T23059A57629306.en
  3. ^ Clair, William (1989). The Mammals of Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma Press. p. 30.
  4. ^ Dragoo, J. W.; Choate, J. R.; Yates, T. L. & O'Farrell, T. P. (1990). "Evolutionary and taxonomic relationships among North American arid-land foxes". Journal of Mammalogy. 71 (3): 318–332. doi:10.2307/1381942. JSTOR 1381942.
  5. ^ Mercure, A.; Ralls, K.; Koepflik, P. & Wayne, R. K. (1993). "Genetic subdivisions among small canids – mitochondrial-DNA differentiation of swift, kit, and arctic foxes". Evolution. 47 (5): 1313–1328. doi:10.2307/2410150. JSTOR 2410150. PMID 28564903.
  6. ^ a b c d e Defenders of Wildlife. "Swift fox – Defenders of Wildlife". Retrieved 2008-04-21.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Resmer, Karen. "Vulpes velox". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  8. ^ "History of Accomplishments". Cochrane Ecological Institute captive breeding and reintroduction program in Canada.
  9. ^ Swift Fox. Alberta Environment and Parks
  10. ^ "Swift Fox Recovery and Translocations - Wildlife Preservation Canada". wildlifepreservation.ca.
  11. ^ "Species at risk – Swift fox". Species at Risk Public Registry. 2008-04-25. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Swift fox – Main Page". Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  13. ^ Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio; Hoffman, Michael; and MacDonald David W. Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals, and Dogs: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN; 2004. p112.
  14. ^ a b Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. "Swift fox". Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Siwft Fox (Vulpes velox)" (PDF). Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  16. ^ Kitchen, Ann M., et al. "Multiple breeding strategies in the swift fox, Vulpes velox." Animal behaviour 71.5 (2006): 1029-1038.
  17. ^ a b Kamler, Jan F; Ballard, Warren B.; Gese, Eric M.; Harrison, Robert L.; Karki, Seija; Mote, Kevin (2004). "Adult male emigration and a female-based social organization in swift foxes, Vulpes velox". Animal Behaviour. 67 (4): 699–702. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.08.012.

General references

External links

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.

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in the U.S. state of Nebraska and includes 45,818 acres (185 km2). The refuge contains the largest protected continuous sand dunes in the U.S. A dozen small lakes and numerous ponds are fed by underground aquifers in areas where the sand dunes are below the water table. Some of the dunes are covered in shrubs and grasses, while others are completely bare. After the end of the Pinedale glaciation, the Holocene glacial retreat exposed the sand dunes that had been deposited in their current location by the vast continental glaciers. This refuge manages the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge and together they form the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Crescent Lake NWR was protected in 1931 to ensure the wetlands would continue to be protected, providing migratory bird species and other animals a safe haven. As many as twenty Bald eagle pairs have been known to spend part of the year within the refuge, and along another 200 observed bird species, the refuge is considered one of the finest in the U.S. for birders. The grasses support a large group of Pronghorn as well as Mule and White-tailed deer. Coyote, bobcat, beaver, river otter, swift fox, prairie dog and raccoon are also found on the refuge. Sport fishing is popular with Yellow Perch, Walleye and Largemouth bass being the more commonly sought.

Crescent Lake NWR is located approximately 28 miles (45 km) north of Oshkosh, Nebraska. From U.S. Highway 26, turn north on West Second. Proceed north out of town and follow directional signs to the Refuge headquarters. From U.S. Highway 2, turn south just east of Lakeside, Nebraska.

Kit fox

The kit fox (Vulpes macrotis) is a fox species of North America. Its range is primarily in the Southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico. Some mammalogists classify it as conspecific with the swift fox, V. velox, but molecular systematics imply that the two species are distinct.

List of mammals of Montana

There are at least 19 large mammal and 96 small mammal species known to occur in Montana. Among Montana's mammals, three are listed as endangered or threatened species and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks lists a number of species as Species of Concern.Species are listed by common name, scientific name, typical habitat and occurrence. Common and scientific names from R. S. Hoffman and D. L. Pattie, A Guide to Montana Mammals, 1968.

List of mammals of Wyoming

There are at least 18 large mammal and 103 small mammal species known to occur in Wyoming.Species are listed by common name, scientific name, typical habitat and occurrence. Common and scientific names from American Society of Mammalogists' Wyoming Mammal List.

Ludwig N. Carbyn

Ludwig "Lu" Norbert Carbyn is an internationally recognized expert on wolf biology, a research scientist emeritus at the Canadian Wildlife Service, and an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. He has studied wolf ecology and behaviour in Canada since 1970, including pioneering research into the ecological role of wolves as predators in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and great plains as well as the wolf-bison ecosystem of Wood Buffalo National Park. On a Canadian Wildlife Service assignment in Jasper National Park, he became the first human to study wild wolves from within a wolf pack using habituation, a method of gaining insights into the biology of wolves portrayed in fiction by Farley Mowat's popular book and film, Never Cry Wolf.Carbyn has conducted research on the ecology of various species of canids in Poland, Portugal, and throughout North America, and was the chairman of the successful Canadian Swift Fox Reintroduction program Recovery Team from 1989 to 1993. He has published six books and numerous articles about wolves, including The Buffalo Wolf - Predators, Prey and the Politics of Nature (2003, Smithsonian Books) which was distinguished as "Best of the Year - Wildlife" in 2004 by the Canadian Geographic magazine. In 2013, Carbyn received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to wildlife conservation in Canada.


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

Mammals of Glacier National Park (U.S.)

There are at least 14 large mammal and 50 small mammal species known to occur in Glacier National Park.

Species are listed by common name, scientific name. Common and scientific names from R. S. Hoffman and D. L. Pattie, A Guide to Montana Mammals, 1968.

Miles and Beryl Smeeton

Miles Smeeton and Beryl Smeeton were an outstanding couple of travellers, pioneers, explorers, mountaineers, cruising sailors, recipients of numerous sailing awards, farmers, prolific authors, wildlife conservationists and founders of the Cochrane Ecological Institute, a Canadian non-profit charity responsible for successfully reintroducing the swift fox to North America.

Mountain fennec

The mountain fennec (Vulpes sp. nov.) is an unidentified local name of a fox reported by Dr Koen de Smet, announced from the mountains of the Central Sahara by the local Tuaregs. It is possibly conspecific with Blanford's fox. The mountain fennec may just be a Corsavach Swift fox with bigger ears.

Nazareth Independent School District

Nazareth Independent School District is a public school district based in Nazareth, Texas (USA).

Located in east central Castro County, the district has one school that serves students in grades kindergarten through twelve.

The school mascot is the swift, short for swift fox, which is native to the area.

Nazareth is the state's most dominant girls' basketball program, having won the most overall state championships (23 -- 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019), and the most consecutive (6, from 1977 through 1982) of any school in any classification. The boys have won six titles of their own--1986, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2010.

In 2009, the school district was rated "recognized" by the Texas Education Agency.

North Platte National Wildlife Refuge

North Platte National Wildlife Refuge is located in the U.S. state of Nebraska and includes 5,047 acres (20.42 km2). Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge is broken into four separate sections that are superimposed on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation–managed lakes and reservoirs. Together with the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the two refuges form the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Within the refuge is the longest continuously used bald eagle nesting site in the state of Nebraska. Since 1994, an average of two eaglets per year have been produced from this one nest alone. During fall migrations, 200,000 ducks, Canada geese, herons, and other waterfowl are known to use the refuge when migrating south. Since 1975, over 200 species of birds have been reported, which makes this refuge one of the finest for bird watching in the U.S. Pronghorn, mule deer, and white-tailed deer, along with raccoon, coyote, beaver, swift fox, river otter, prairie dog, and bobcat are some of the 40 species of mammal known to inhabit the refuge. Sport fishing is popular, with largemouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch considered the best game species.

The main section of the refuge is located 8 miles (12.87 km) northwest of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, the principal city of the Scottsbluff Micropolitan Statistical Area. The refuge consists of multiple lakes, most notably Lake Minatare, part of the Lake Minatare State Recreation Area.

Predator Conservation Alliance

Predator Conservation Alliance (PCA) (now known as Keystone Conservation), founded in 1991, is a conservation group based in Bozeman, Montana, U.S.A. Its area of interest is native predators such as the ferret, burrowing owl, grizzly bear, lynx, northern goshawk, swift fox, wolf and wolverine in the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains regions of the United States.


Swiftfox was a web browser based on Mozilla Firefox. It was available for Linux platforms and distributed by Jason Halme. Swiftfox was a set of builds of Firefox optimized for different Intel and AMD microprocessors. Swiftfox was freely downloadable with open source code and proprietary binaries. Firefox extensions and plugins were compatible with Swiftfox, with notable exceptions. The name Swiftfox comes from the animal swift fox. Swiftfox differs from Firefox by a limited number of changes, and builds for different processors. Swiftfox was discontinued at some point prior to April 2017, and the project homepage now redirects to the creator's private Twitter account.

Thomas Say

Thomas Say (June 27, 1787 – October 10, 1834) was an American entomologist, conchologist, and herpetologist. His definitive studies of insects and shells, numerous contributions to scientific journals, and scientific expeditions to Florida, Georgia, the Rocky Mountains, Mexico, and elsewhere made him an internationally known naturalist. Say has been called the father of American descriptive entomology and American conchology. He served as librarian for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, curator at the American Philosophical Society, and professor of natural history at the University of Pennsylvania.

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge is a 56,048 acres (22,682 ha) protected area that is located in central Montana, United States. The refuge, located at the extreme southernmost tip of Phillips County, is managed and bordered on three sides by the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Fort Peck Reservoir on the Missouri River. The UL Bend Wilderness comprises almost half the refuge and provides a high level of protection to the most remote regions. This refuge is remote, requiring travel by gravel and dirt roads that can be difficult to navigate during inclement weather. A large species population of red fox, bald eagle, bighorn sheep, golden eagle, black bear, great horned owl, moose, burrowing owl, coyote, elk, swift fox, bobcat, pronghorn, mule deer, and cougar inhabit this refuge. Prairie dogs are abundant and are the primary food source for the black-footed ferret, which is listed as an endangered species. The Black-footed ferret has been reintroduced into the refuge after nearing extinction yet the sustainability of this relocated species is not yet known, and there are only 1,000 remaining in breeding compounds and perhaps 100 in the wild. Researchers in 2002 were only able to locate a total of 5 ferrets in the entire refuge.

UL Bend Wilderness is a 20,819-acre (8,425 ha) wilderness area within the refuge that was established in 1976 to provide a higher level of protection to the more remote sections. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The refuge is an integral part of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


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.

Wildlife Preservation Canada

Wildlife Preservation Canada is a non-profit, non-governmental environmental organization with a mission to save animal species at risk from extinction in Canada by providing direct, hands-on care. It provides this critical need for multiple species in multiple recovery efforts across the country. Wildlife Preservation Canada utilizes science-based techniques such as conservation breeding and release, reintroduction and translocation. Its action plan is based on the urgency of the need and is updated annually. It was founded in 1985 by Gerald Durrell.

At the same time, Canada's conservation capacity is increased by providing young scientists the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in working with species at risk. Canada's New Noah scholarship program is designed to develop future conservation leaders with specialized expertise in recovery techniques for species on the brink of extinction.All of the work yields measurable results. Scientists collect high-quality field data so the impact of their efforts may be quantified and effective recovery strategies planned. Tools and techniques are continually refined and improved and the results are published so that this new knowledge is shared and can be used elsewhere. When the data shows that hands-on intervention is no longer necessary — as in the case of the swift fox — the resources are deployed to help other species in greater need.

Yoshifumi Ato

Yoshifumi Ato (born May 2, 1983) is a Japanese musician, bandleader, composer, and record producer, based in Tokyo. His record production credits include artists such as Harumi Tsuyuzaki, Skoop On Somebody, Lena Fujii, HKT48, M-Swift, Fox Capture Plan, Jabberloop, Soulhead, and Coldfeet. He has led the Japanese electropop band Autumn Leave's since 2000. He is also known as a frontman and composer of Japanese musical project Miu-clips.

As a composer, his musical piece is played by many TV programs and CMs of Japan, China, Vietnam, Hawaii, England, Spain, France (Honda, Bridgestone, Dentsu, Casio, Kirin Company, Yahoo etc.).

Extant Carnivora species

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