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Wednesday Woof - Lycalopex vetulus and New Year Edition

Aaaaaaaaand we're back! I was traveling during the holidays, so a Wednesday went un-Woofed and a Saturday un-becatted. I know you all felt the loss. I could sense your knowledge of the world's wild felids and canids waning, and once again I have shouldered the task of bolstering your unnecessary and unsolicited education.

The Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus) is a species of "zorro" or fox that can be found primarily in Brazil. Locals also call it raposinha-do-campo, which means "meadow fox."


The Hoary Fox is so called because of the white hairs that mix in with its mostly-gray coat, giving it a "frosted" look. Their tails are black at the tip, and a dark stripe may run all the way down the spine in male foxes. The ears and legs are a tawny or reddish color. Hoary Foxes are small, weighing only 9 pounds (4 Kg) and up to 28 inches (72 cm) in body length.

The small size of the Hoary Fox means that it is quick and agile. It mostly feeds on insects like termites and beetles, though it will eat fruit and rodents as well. Their preferred habitat is tall grass steppes interspersed with "islands" of wooded areas. Hoary Foxes are diurnal, which means that they're most active during the twilight hours. They are shy of humans and timid with other animals, preferring flight over fight, but they will aggressively defend their young.


Female Hoary Foxes will give birth to a litter of two to four kits after a 50-day gestation period. The birthing den is sometimes made by the expectant mother, and sometimes she appropriates an abandoned den dug by other animals. Not much is known about the social behavior of this fox, but because they form monogamous mating pairs, it is likely that the male plays a role in rearing the pups.


A lot is still unknown about whether or not Hoary Foxes are preyed upon by other predators, although these foxes are considered prey for vampire bats. Because the vampire bat's feeding doesn't result in the death of the fox, however, this is more of a parasitic relationship than a predatory one.

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