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Rüppell's (Sand) Fox - Vulpes rueppellii
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Rüppell's (Sand) Fox - Vulpes rueppellii

[Image: photo.jpg]

Scientific classification 
Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Mammalia 
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Canidae 
Genus: Vulpes 
Species: Vulpes rueppellii

Distribution
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Rüppell's Fox (Vulpes rueppellii), also spelled Rueppell's Fox and also called the Sand Fox, is a species of fox living in North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco and the Sahel region to an Afghanistan hills. It is named after the German collector Eduard Rüppell. Rüpell's Fox is also called the Sand Fox, but this terminology is confusing because the Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac) and the Tibetan Sand Fox (Vulpes ferrilata) are also known as the "Sand Fox".

It has an average life expectancy of up to 6 or 7 years in the wild, but can live much longer in captivity.

Description
Rüppell's Fox is 40-52 centimeters long and has an average weight of 1.7 kilograms. It is a very small canine, and is considerably smaller than the Red Fox. It is sandy in color and has black patches on the muzzle, as well as a white tipped tail. Rüppell's Fox has fur on the pads on its feet, that possibly helps distribute their weight and move easily on sand. Similar to other desert dwelling foxes, Rüppell's Fox has relatively large ears to cool it off. The tail is long and bushy. These features make Rüppell's Fox look almost like a large Fennec Fox.

[Image: photo.jpg]

Behavior
Rüppell's Fox relies on scent glands for many activities. It uses them to mark territories as well as to spray unwanted predators, similar to the behavior of the skunk. The female Rüppell's Fox uses her scent glands to mark the cubbing den. Another use for the scent glands is that the foxes use them to greet each other. Rüppell's Fox can bark, in a way similar to a dog.

Around mating season, Rüppell's Fox travels in monogamous groups, or a male and a female, but after breeding season, the fox reportedly moves in family groups of 3-15 individuals. One animal occupies about 50-69 square kilometers of territory, though the male's territory is larger than that of the female's. Rüppell's Fox is nocturnal and gregarious. The animals change dens often, and will abandon a den if there is a dangerous disturbance in the area. Most dens are dug under rocks, or under trees.

Rüppell's Fox was pushed to living in the desert biome due to competition with its larger cousin, the Red Fox. It is known as being an extremely good survivor. Rüppell's Fox's only predators are the Steppe Eagle and the Eagle Owl.

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Diet
Rüppell's Fox is a solitary forager. It is an omnivore, and will eat almost anything that crosses its path. Mostly, it is an insectivore, but its diet also consists of tubers and roots, as well as small mammals, reptiles, eggs, and arachnids.

Reproduction
The female Rüppell's Fox has a gestation period of around 51-53 days. She has 2-3 kits, and each are born blind. They are weaned at 6-8 weeks of age. They are born underground, to protect them from predators.

[Image: photo.jpg]
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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