23 Types of Foxes and Where to See Them in the Wild

In my travels in search of wild cats, I have been lucky to encounter many different types of foxes in the wild. Practically every country I travelled to had a few different fox species. I wondered how many types of foxes are there in the world and it turned out that the answer depends on who you ask.

There is a fair bit of conflicting information online about the number of fox species in the world which can be quite confusing. I used the classification accepted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Canid Specialist Group that recognizes 22 fox species.

The last fox on my list – the Cozumel fox is not included in the IUCN classification since this fox is so rare that it has never been detected in any wildlife surveys. Most information about it comes from a handful of sightings and from studies of subfossil bones.

Before meeting the fox family, first, a few words on the classification of foxes. All foxes belong to the Canidae (dog) family, to the sub-family Caninae (aka canines) that also includes jackals and wild dogs.

Within the Caninae sub-family, 12 species of foxes form a distinct clade, which means they are more closely related to each other than to other canines. These 12 types of foxes are referred to as ‘true foxes’.

The remaining 10 (and possibly 11) species of foxes, in contrast, are more closely related to wolves and wild dogs than to the ‘true foxes’. They are colloquially known as ‘false foxes’, but most of them have the word ‘fox’ in their name.

types of foxes - gray fox
Gray fox

Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. I have seen them in a variety of landscapes, from snowy Russian forests to flooded Brazilian wetlands, to arid Australian deserts. Some fox species do well in human-dominated landscapes, and you can see them without too much effort. In fact, humans’ familiarity with foxes is the reason red fox is present in Australia, where it is now considered an ‘invasive’ species – it was brought to the southern continent by the early European settlers.

Yet other species of foxes are quite elusive and difficult to spot in the wild unless you know where to look. The hardest fox of all to track down in the wild is the Cozumel fox. The island of Cozumel that lies off the coast of Mexico is a popular holiday and diving destination. So if you find yourself on a holiday on Cozumel, keep an eye open for this super rare fox.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s meet the extended fox family and discover the best locations for seeing them in the wild.

Quck Fox Facts

What is the biggest fox in the world?

The red fox is the largest ‘true fox’ in the world. An adult red fox can reach from just 2.2 kg to a whopping 14 kg (5–31 lb). Among all types of foxes, the culpeo, or the Andean fox is as large as the red fox, although it is more closely related to wolves and jackals than to true foxes.

What is the smallest fox in the world?

Fennec fox. Not only is it the smallest fox, but it is also the smallest canid (member of the dog family) in the world. An adult Fennec fox weighs between 1 and 1.3 kg (2.9 lb)

What is the most endangered fox?

Currently, Darwin’s fox is the only fox species listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Sadly, Chile’s Darwin’s fox is Critically Endangered with around 639 individuals remaining in the wild. The majority of Darwin’s foxes (412 individuals) live on Chiloe Island. The remaining foxes are confined to the small Nahuelbuta National Park on mainland Chile.

What is the rarest fox?

This depends on what classification level you use. At the species level, Darwin’s fox is the most endangered species. At the subspecies level, the most endangered type of fox is the Sierra Nevada Red fox of California – a subspecies of the Red fox. The entire population numbers fewer than 50 individuals.

However, the dwarf Cozumel Island fox from Mexico may be the rarest fox. This fox has not been classified by science and only a handful of eyewitness reports prove its existence. If Cozumel fox still exists and if it is found to be genetically distinct from the mainland Gray fox, it would top the list of the rarest types of foxes in the world.

True Foxes

True foxes are the 12 members of the genus Vulpes. These 12 species of foxes are closely related and form a distinct clade within the subfamily Caninae. True foxes are distinguished from the other canines likes wolves, dogs and jackals by their smaller size, bigger tail, and flatter skull.

Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus)

Arctic fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 3 to 8kg (6.5-17 lbs)
  • Average Length: 75 to 110 cm long (2.3-3.5 feet) including a tail of around 30cm (12 inches).

The demure Arctic fox is much tougher than it looks. Also known as the polar fox, it lives in the Arctic region of the northern hemisphere, where it can withstand temperatures as low as –50°C (-58°F).

It is well adapted to living in cold environments. Its body is compact with proportionately short legs, neck and small ears to minimize heat loss. It has luxuriously thick fur and a thick layer of fat that serves as insulation and food storage during long hungry winters. Thick fur on its feed protects them from snow, and a bushy tail offers another layer of warmth when the fox curls up to sleep. During blizzards, the fox digs itself a tunnel through the snow to hide from the wind.

In spring, the Arctic fox loses its snow-white coat to take on a blotchy grey-brown-white appearance that matches the grassy, rocky environment of the summer tundra. In summer, it is an opportunistic hunter, preying on rodents, birds, including water birds and occasionally fish. But in winter, when prey is scarce, the foxes follow polar bears to scavenge the leftovers of their kills.

Good places to see Arctic foxes in the wild are Iceland, including Heydalur, Modrudalur, and Hornstrandir; and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

READ MORE: All 40 Species of Wild Cats and Where to See Them in the Wild

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

types of foxes - red fox
  • Conservation Status: Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.2–14 kg (5–31 lb)
  • Average Length: 45–90 cm (18–35 in) in body length with tails measuring 30–55.5 cm (11.8–21.9 in)

The Red fox is the largest of the true foxes and the most familiar fox species across the northern hemisphere. Its distribution range extends across North America, Europe, Asia and now Australia, where it was deliberately introduced by humans.

Red foxes are incredibly adaptable animals living in a variety of habitats from forests and grasslands to tundra and deserts, as well as in human-dominated landscapes. This adaptability led to a high diversity of red foxes with up to 46 recognized subspecies.

Typically, solitary hunters, Red foxes form mating pairs that stay together for a season to care for their young. Occasionally the young from the previous litter may stay with their mother and help care for the new litter. Red foxes feed mostly on rodents, rabbits and birds, but they are quite flexible in their diet.

Red foxes are probably the easiest of all types of foxes to see in the wild due to their wide distribution. You may even encounter them in the city parks after dark.

Swift Fox (Vulpes velox)

swift fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.2-3kg (5-7 lbs)
  • Average Length: 58 – 86 cmv(23-34 inches) including tail

Smaller than a domestic cat, the Swift fox is one of the smallest foxes in the world. It is found in the western grasslands of North America, including the states of Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It also occurs in Canada, where it was extirpated and later reintroduced in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The swift fox is a speedy little fox – it can hurtle at 60 kilometres an hour when chasing prey or escaping predators. It hunts mostly at night and eats anything it can find – small mammals, reptiles, insects, carrion, fruits and grasses.

It is also flexible in its choice of denning sites, either digging their own dens in the sandy soil of the prairies and fields or taking up existing holes dug and abandoned by other animals, like badges.

The Swift fox is known to interbreed with the closely related kit fox, where their ranges overlap.

Good places to try your luck spotting a Swift fox are Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado and Kiowa National Grassland in New Mexico.

Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis)

kit fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 1.6 and 2.7 kg (3.5 and 6.0 lb)
  • Average Length: on average81 cm (32 inches) including tail

The Kit fox is a desert-adapted species that inhabits arid regions of southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico. It is the smallest true fox species in North America. But despite its small size and demure appearance, it is a tough animal capable of withstanding scorching heat and a limited supply of water. Its huge ears allow the kit fox to release excess body heat, and its ability to get hydration from the prey it consumes means that it can survive without drinking for extended periods of time.

Kit foxes are active primarily at night, spending their days in the cool of their dens. Each fox has a few dens within its home range; some they dig themselves, overs they take over from budges, prairie dogs and other rodents.

Good places to see Kit foxes in the wild are California’s Mojave and Colorado deserts.

Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac)

corsac fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 1.6 to 3.2 kilograms (3.5 to 7.1 lb)
  • Average Length: 64 – 100 cm (25-39 in) including a tail of 19 to 35 cm (7.5 to 13.8 in)

The Corsac fox is a medium-sized fox from Central Asia found in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and northern parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, China and parts of Russia. It inhabits steppes, semi-deserts and deserts while avoiding thick forests and cultivated landscapes.

It is an unusual fox in a couple of ways. For once, it doesn’t defend a permanent home range but leads a migratory lifestyle. In winter, when the snow is too deep for Corsac foxes to hunt, they either shelter in their dens or migrate south for hundreds of kilometres. When migrating, these foxes may follow local deer herds to benefit from the compressed snow that the deer leave behind. As an adaptation to these long periods of reduced hunting, corsacs can withstand long periods without food and water.

Another distinction of the Corsac foxes is that sometimes they form packs that hunt together and live in communal dens that they either dig themselves or take over from other animals.

The Corsac fox’s distribution range in the remote steppes of Central Asia makes them challenging to see in the wild. Most sightings occur on wildlife watching trips in Mongolia.

Cape Fox (Vulpes chama)

types of foxes - cape fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.5 to 4.5 kg (5.5 to 9.9 lb)
  • Average Length: 75 to 102 cm (29.5 to 40 in) including a tail of 30-40 cm (12 to 15.5 in) long

The Cape fox is southern Africa’s answer to Sahara’s Fennec fox. Like its desert-dwelling cousin, the Cape fox is a small animal with huge ears. It is the only true fox in Africa that occurs south of the equator.

This species prefers open habitats in arid and semi-arid environments where it puts its large years to good use hunting rodents. These exceptional eats enable the fox to hear its prey underground. And once it detects the sound, it quickly digs it out. Like most foxes, the Cape fox supplements its diet with a variety of plant foods like fruits and vegetables. Occasionally, it may also feed on carrion.

A solitary nocturnal hunter, the Cape fox shelters during the day in burrows that it either digs itself or takes over abandoned burrows of other animals.

National Parks of Southern Africa are good places for looking for Cape foxes, including Etosha and Kruger National Parks.

Pale Fox (Vulpes pallida)

Pale fox engraving by J. G. Keulemans – Mivart, St. George Jackson via CC
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.0–3.6 kg (4.4 to 7.9 lb)
  • Average Length: 61-84 cm (24 to 33 in) including tail

The mysterious Pale fox is the least studied of all types of foxes, and not much is known about its life in the wild. Part of the reason for the paucity of information about this fox species is its preference for living in remote areas. The Pale fox is distributed across a narrow band of semi-arid Sahel region of the African continent – the transition zone between the dunes of the Sahara desert and the sub-Saharan savannas.

It is similar in appearance to the Rüppell’s fox, from which it is distinguished by the black tip on its tail. While the population status of Pale fox has not been assessed, it is considered widespread species within its range.

Like most arid zone foxes, the Pale fox derives sufficient hydration from its prey and can withstand long periods without drinking water. It is a predominantly nocturnal hunter retreating to its den during the daylight hours.

Pale foxes have an unusual social structure in that they usually live in packs of three adults that consist of one female and two males. They dig extensive dens with tunnels as long as 10-15 meters, terminating in small chambers.

A good place to look for Pale foxes in the wild is Zakouma National Park in Chad.

Bengal Fox (Vulpes bengalensis)

Bengal fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.26 to 4.18 kg (4.98 to 9.21 lb)
  • Average Length: 46 to 61 cm (18 to 24 in) with a 25cm (10 in) tail

The Bengal fox, also known as the Indian fox, is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It has a broad distribution range that stretches from the Himalayan foothills and the Terai area of Nepal to southern India and from eastern and southern Pakistan to the east of India and southeastern Bangladesh.

The Bengal fox’s most recognizable feature is its long, bushy tail that’s usually longer than half of its body length. The long tail is useful for steering on the run – the fox holds it parallel to the ground when it runs and lifts it vertically when making a sharp turn.

While they usually hunt alone, Bengal foxes form monogamous bonds that can last a lifetime. The pair digs a complex system of dens that consist of a network of tunnels connecting several rooms and escape routes. The young may sometimes stay with the breeding pair forming a larger family group.

Bengal foxes are found in many protected areas throughout their range. You can look for them in Bardia and Chitwan National Parks in Nepal and in Desert National Park, Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, Kachchh Bustard Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary and Sholapur Bustard Sanctuary in India.

Tibetan Fox (Vulpes ferrilata)

fox species - Tibetan fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 4 to 5.5 kg (8.8 to 12.1 lb)
  • Average Length: 89 to110 cm (35-44 in) including tail

The unusual-looking Tibetan fox is a high altitude dweller, found across the highlands and steppes of the Tibetan Plateau, Nepal, Ladakh, China, Sikkim and Bhutan at altitudes of up to 5,300 meters (17,400 ft).

They are well adapted to living in cold, windswept, rocky environments. Their thick coat protects them from the winter chill and their heavily muscled feet are well suited for running in the rocky terrain.

Unlike most foxes, Tibetan foxes are active during the day. They form monogamous pairs that often hunt together. Their primary prey is pikas, but they also eat other rodents, rabbits, hares, ground-dwelling birds and insects. Occasionally they may feed on carrion or supplement their diet with fruit.

A good place to see Tibetan foxes in the wild is the Tibetan Plateau, particularly the Ruoergai Grassland in China’s Sichuan Province.

Blanford’s Fox (Vulpes cana)

Image by Eyal Bartov via CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 1.5 to 3 KG (3.3 – 6.6 lb)
  • Average Length: 71.5 to 112 cm (28.2 – 43.9 in) including tail

The Blanford’s fox is one of the smallest types of foxes in the world. It occurs in the Middle East and Central Asia from Israel throughout the mountainous regions of the middle east to Afghanistan. It prefers areas with steep, rocky slopes, cliffs, and canyons. It is an agile climber able to jump up to 3 meters (9.8 ft) between narrow ledges along sheer cliff walls. It has the sharpest claws among all species of foxes and uses them for traction when navigating narrow ledges.

Like most foxes, the Blanford’s fox is a nocturnal and mostly solitary forager. It has an omnivorous diet feeding on small mammals, insects and fruits such as melons and grapes.

For a small fox, the Blandford’s fox has a plethora of names in different regions across its distribution range, including the Black Fox, Hoary Fox, Afghan Fox, Royal Fox, Baluchistan Fox, Dog Fox, Cliff Fox, King Fox and Steppe Fox.

Rüppell’s Fox (Vulpes rueppelli)

fox types - Ruppells-fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 1.7 kg (3.7 lb)
  • Average Length: 66 to 74 cm (26 to 29 in) including a tail of 27–30 cm (11–12 in)

The Rüppell’s fox is a little-studied fox that ranges across North Africa, the Middle East and South Western Asia with a preference for desert and semi-desert habitats. Like all desert foxes, it has extraordinarily large ears that help in the dissipation of body heat as well as increasing the fox’s ability to locate its prey by sound.

The Rüppell’s Fox diet consists of small birds and mammals, lizards, beetles, succulents and grasses, depending on what is available in the area. It forages mostly at night and at dawn and dusk. During the day it retreats to its underground resting den.

Rüppell’s foxes form monogamous pairs. The pair builds a dedicated breeding den to raise its young.

Given their distribution range, it’s best to join an organized tour to go looking for Rüppells foxes in the wild. Bouhedma National Park in Tunisia and the area around the town of Awsard in Western Sahara give a good chance of spotting them.

Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)

types of foxes - fennec fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 1 to 1.3 kg (2.9 lb)
  • Average Length: 57.5 to 64.5 cm (22.7 – 25.4 in) including tail of 23–25 cm (9.1–9.8 in)

The world’s smallest canid and the smallest type of fox, the dainty Fennec fox, is the only fox capable of living in the Sahara Desert. Its most recognizable feature – its giant satellite dish-like ears are an adaptation to life in the scorching heat used to dissipate the heat from the body. These ears can be half as long as the fox’s body.

Fennec fox’s other adaptations include a thick sandy-coloured coat that insulates the animal from the daytime heat and nighttime chill. Even the soles of its feet are covered in fur to protect them from the hot sand.

While typically considered to be solitary hunters, fennec foxes live in groups of about 10 individuals. Their burrows are located in close proximity and, in some cases, may be interconnected. A few families may have adjoining burrows covering a combined area of up to 120 m2 (1,292 sq ft).

Seeing a fennec fox in the wild is a worthwhile challenge for any keen wildlife watcher, and the best way of finding them is to join an organized tour to Western Sahara.

South American Foxes

The Lycalopex genus of the Canidae family is commonly referred to as the South American fox. However, there are 6 different species in this genus. All of these foxes have the word ‘fox’ in their name even though they are more closely related to wolves and jackals than to true foxes of the Vulpes genus. Another fox with South American distribution – the Crab-eating fox belongs to the Cerdocyon genus.

Crab-eating Fox (Cerdocyon thous)

Brazilian wildlife - Crab-eating fox
Crab-eating fox in the Pantanal
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 4.5 to 7.7 kg (10 to 17 lb)
  • Average Length: 92.8cm (36.5 in) including tail of 28.5 centimetres (11.2 in)

Crab-eating Fox is a medium-size canid endemic to the central part of South America from Colombia and Venezuela to Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina. It occurs in a broad range of habitats including savannas, forests, woodlands and shrubs.

Its name comes from its penchant for snacking on crabs that it finds on the muddy flood plains when the floodwater subsides after the rainy season. Apart from crabs, the Crab-eating foxes’ diet includes small rodents and birds, lizards, insects, turtle eggs, fruit and carrion.

Crab-eating foxes form monogamous pairs and may breed twice a year. They raise their young in breeding dens that they can dig themselves or take over abandoned burrows of other species.

These foxes are common across most of their range, but one of the best places to see Crab-eating foxes is the Brazilian Pantanal.

Culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus)

Types of foxes - Culpeo
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 5 to 13.5 kg (11 to 30 lb)
  • Average Length: 95 to 132 cm (37 to 52 in), including a tail of 32 to 44 cm (13 to 17 in)

The culpeo or the Andean fox is the largest of South American foxes and the second largest canid on the continent, after the maned wolf. Culpeos are found throughout the Andes from Ecuador to southern Chile and Argentina. In terms of habitat preference, culpeos are versatile generalists. They live in the forests, grasslands, scrub, and deserts from the high altitude foothills of the Andes to sea level.

The culpeo is a solitary hunter that occasionally preys on ungulates, but mostly on rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards. Its diet also contains plant matter and carrion. Its activity patterns vary geographically. In Argentina, Peru and in the Chilean desert, culpeos are active mostly at night. However, in Central Chile, they appear to be diurnal or crepuscular.

The mating system of culpeos has not been studied in the wild, but they are likely to be monogamous, like their close relatives, Argentine gray foxes.

It is most common on the western slopes of the Andes. A good place to see the culpeo is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

Darwin’s Fox (Lycopex fulvipes)

Darwin’s fox in Ahuenco, Chiloé Island, Chile By Fernando Bórquez Bórquez on Wikipedia via CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Average Weight: 1.8 to 3.95 kg (4.0 to 8.7 lb)
  • Average Length: 65.5 to 84.5 cm (26 to 33 in) including a tail 17.5 to 25.5 cm (7 to 10 in) long

Darwin’s fox is a small dark canine that has the distinction of being the most endangered type of fox in the world. With the total remaining population of around 640 individuals, Darwin’s fox is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The majority of Darwin’s foxes (just over 400 individuals) live on Chiloe Island off the coast of Chile. The remaining 227 foxes are confined to the small Nahuelbuta National Park on mainland Chile.

Darwin’s fox appears to prefer dense forest habitat but occasionally occurs in the open pasture as well. It exhibits a crepuscular activity pattern, being most active at twilight and before sunrise.

The diet is Darwin’s foxes is quite varied including small mammals, lizards, insects, fruits, berries and seeds. On Chiloe Island, they have also been observed feeding on crustaceans.

Darwin’s foxes appear to be non-territorial with males displaying no aggressive behaviour towards other males roaming around their territory. Chiloe Island is the best place to look for Darwin’s fox in the wild. They are considered quite common on most of the island apart from the northern tip where human population density is highest.

Chilla (Lycalopex griseus)

Grey fox in the rain
Chilla in the rain in El Palmar National Park, Argentina
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.5 to 5.45 kilograms (5.5 to 12.0 lb)
  • Average Length: 65 to 110 centimetres (26 to 43 in) in length including a tail of 20 to 43 cm (8 to 17 in)

The chilla or the South American gray fox is endemic to the southern part of South America, particularly in Argentina and Chile. It prefers lowland habitats including foothills of coastal mountain ranges, forest edges, grasslands, pampas and deserts.

It is a nocturnal hunter of small mammals, particularly rodents and European rabbits, birds, and insects. Other dietary items include bird eggs, fruit and carrion.

The chillas appear to be monogamous with the mated pair staying together and defending a territory throughout the year. According to the Animal Diversity Web, a second female may be present on the territory and assist in rearing the young, possibly a grown offspring from the previous litter.

Chillas are a common sight in Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile, especially around hotels and campsites. I also saw about 5 different individuals in three nights in Argentina’s El Palmar National Park.

Pampas Fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus

pampas fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 2.4 to 8.0 kg (5.3 to 17.6 lb)
  • Average Length: 51 to 80 cm (20 to 31 in)

The Pampas fox is named after the South American Pampas region characterized by open grasslands. This fox can be found in central and northern Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and southern Brazil. It likes to live in open habitats and pampas grass plains, but it also occurs in dry scrublands, woodlands, coastal sand dunes and in human-modified landscapes.

Pampas foxes are mostly nocturnal hunters and foragers. Their diet is quite varied and includes small mammals like rodents and hares, birds, lizards, fruits, carrion, insects, snails and bird eggs.

Pampas foxes mostly live a solitary life outside of the breeding season when the mated pair can be spotted together. They form monogamous pairs but it is not known whether these foxes form lifetime bonds or establish new monogamous pairs each breeding season. The mated pairs establish their breeding dens in caves, tree hollows, or in the abandoned burrows of viscachas or armadillos.

Pampas fox is considered common throughout its range. Good places to see them in the wild are Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina, and Serra Geral National Park in Brazil

Sechuran Fox (Lycalopex sechurae)

Sechuran fox
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Average Weight: 2.6 to 4.2 kilograms (5.7 to 9.3 lb)
  • Average Length: 77 to 112 cm (31 to 44 in) including a tail of 27 to 34 centimetres (11 to 13 in)

The Sechuran fox or Peruvian desert fox is a small South American canid that gets its name from first being observed in Peru’s Sechura Desert. It occurs in a narrow band of arid landscapes in southwestern Ecuador and western Peru.

It is a mostly solitary, nocturnal, opportunistic feeder with a highly variable diet. Its preferred food are rodents, insects, bird eggs and carrion. However, when its favourite food is in low supply it can survive on a herbivorous diet of seed pods and fruits. Its habit of feeding on seeds makes it an important seed disperser. Like most desert-adapted mammals, the Sechuran fox can survive for long periods of time without drinking water, getting all their hydration from their food.

The Sechuran fox spends the daylight hours in a den that it digs in the ground. Not much is known about the breeding system of this species in the wild.

A good place to see Sechuran foxes in the wild is Chaparri Eco Lodge in Peru

Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus)

Hoary fox
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Average Weight: 3 to 4 kg (6.6 to 8.8 lb)
  • Average Length: 83 to 108 cm (32.8 to 42.2 in) including a tail of 25 to 36 cm (9.8 to 14.2 in)

The Hoary fox is endemic to the Cerrado of Brazil – a savanna biome with some woodland and scrubland habitats. It is the only endemic Brazilian carnivore. Its reliance on the Cerrado habitat places the hoary fox at a higher risk of extinction than other South American foxes since Cerrado is shrinking under high anthropogenic pressure. Accordingly, the hoary fox is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

It has an omnivorous diet but unlike most foxes, it feeds primarily on insects, mostly termites with the addition of beetles and grasshoppers. It also eats fruit, and occasionally small mammals, birds, and lizards.

Hoary foxes are nocturnal and mostly solitary. They form monogamous breeding pairs that stay together to raise offspring. The dens are usually constructed in abandoned burrows of armadillos or in patches of dense vegetation.

Emas and Serra da Canastra National Parks are good spots to look for hoary foxes in the wild, as well as Águas Emendadas Ecological Station.

Other Foxes

Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)

Bat-eared fox - types of foxes
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 3 kg to 5.3 kg (6.6 to 11.6 lb)
  • Average Length: 69 to 100 cm (27 to 39 in) including tail

The Bat-eared fox is native to the African savannah. It is easily recognizable by its huge ears, second in size only to the Fennec fox. It is distributed across two distinct populations one including Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenia; and the other taking in most of Southern Africa including Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

This odd-looking fox is the only canid in the world with an entirely insectivorous diet that on 80% consists of termites. To quickly chew large quantities of its insect prey, the bat-eared fox has more teeth (50) than any other type of fox (most canids have around 42) or any other placental mammal. With that many teeth, a single bat-eared fox can consume up to 1.15 million termites each year.

Bat-eared foxes are highly social animals that live in mated pairs or small family groups. When the young are borne, it is the male that does most of the parenting.

A good place to see bat-eared foxes in the wild is Karoo National Park in South Africa.

Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Gray fox
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Average Weight: 3.6 to 7 kg (7.9 to 15.4 lb)
  • Average Length: 76 to 112.5 cm (29.9 to 44.3 in) including the tail of 27.5 to 44.3 cm (10.8 to 17.4 in) 

The Gray fox has a broad distribution throughout North and Central America. It prefers to live in wooded, bushy, rocky habitats from southern Canada to Venezuela and Columbia. It is unique among all types of foxes in that it’s the only canid to naturally occur in both North and South America.

It is also unique in its ability to climb trees, which earned it the nicknames such as the “tree fox” or the “cat fox”. Like some cats, the gray fox has rotating wrists that aid in its tree-climbing habits and allows it to set up its den and forage high up in the trees. It can climb vertical tree trunks to heights of up to 18 meters and can even jump from branch to branch. However, unlike some of its feline counterparts, it is not as skilled in climbing down from trees and mostly descends by jumping from higher to lower branches.

Gray foxes are nocturnal solitary hunters that prey on small mammals including rabbits, rodents, and birds.

They are believed to be monogamous with a mated pair establishing a den in the bushy and forested areas, occasionally taking up abandoned burrows of other species.

You can see gray foxes in many protected areas, including San Angelo State Park in Texas, Cibola Valley Conservation Area in Arizona, around Point Reyes in California, and even in Alaska’s National Parks.

Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)

Island fox
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened
  • Average Weight: 3 to 4 kg (6.6 to 8.8 lb)
  • Average Length: 83 to 108 cm (32.8 to 42.2 in) including a tail of 25 to 36 cm (9.8 to 14.2 in)

The island fox is endemic to six of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. Each island population is recognized as a unique subspecies reflecting their evolutionary history. The Island Fox is California’s only endemic carnivore.

Island foxes are descendants of the mainland gray fox. While they are one of the smallest canines in the world, they are the largest native mammal on the Channel Islands.

A notable characteristic of Island foxes is their docile temperament. They have little fear of humans and are easily tamed.

These foxes are quite flexible in their habitat preferences, occurring in all types of habitats on the islands. They are mostly nocturnal and feed on small mammals, birds, lizards, crabs, birds eggs and insects.

Island foxes form monogamous pairs which can often be seen hunting together.

You can see island foxes on Santa Cruz Island where they are often active during the day and unfazed by visitors

Cozumel Fox (Urocyon sp.)

Not much is known about this mysterious fox from Cozumel island off the coast of Mexico. Only a handful of eyewitness reports (mostly from Punta Sur Park) mention sightings of small ‘squirrel-like’ fox. It has never been detected in any wildlife surveys on Cozumel and there are no preserved specimens in museums.

The Cozumel fox is believed to be a descendant of the gray fox, like the Channel Island fox (above) and like its Californian neighbour, it evolved into a dwarf form. Another two mammals on Cozumel are also dwarf versions of their mainland counterparts: Cozumel dwarf coati and pygmy raccoon.

If the evolutionary and genetic distinctiveness of the Cozumel fox is confirmed, it would become one of the rarest canid species in the world. In 2006, a group of researchers examined subfossil bones of 12 foxes unearthed on the island and concluded that the Cozumel fox is “phenotypically distinct from the mainland taxon, that this population may deserve a unique species or subspecies designation based on a long history of isolation, and thus that the critically endangered designation is justified”. 


I hope you enjoyed learning about the diverse types of foxes and found the tips on where to find them in the wild useful. Good luck spotting different types of foxes in their natural habitat around the world!

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