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Hoary Fox - Lycalopex vetulus
Hoary Fox - Lycalopex vetulus

[Image: hoary-fox-stretching.jpg]

Scientific classification

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class:  Mammalia
Order:  Carnivora
Family:  Canidae
Genus:  Lycalopex
Species:  Lycalopex vetulus  (Lund, 1842)

Pseudoalopex vetulus
Dusicyon vetulus

The hoary fox (Lycalopex vetulus), also called raposinha-do-campo (Portuguese for "meadow fox"), is a species of zorro or "false" fox endemic to Brazil. Unlike many other foxes, it feeds primarily on small invertebrates such as insects. No subspecies are recognized.

The hoary fox has a short muzzle, small teeth, a short coat, and slender limbs. The upper part of the body is grey, and the underside of the body is cream or fawn. The tail is black on the tip with a marked dark stripe along the upper surface, which in male animals may extend all the way along the back to the nape of the neck. The ears and outside part of the legs are reddish or tawny, and the lower jaw is black. Some melanistic individuals have also been reported.
It is small for a fox, weighing only 3 to 4 kg (6.6 to 8.8 lb), with a head and body length of 58 to 72 cm (23 to 28 in), and a tail 25 to 36 cm (9.8 to 14.2 in). Together with its slender form, the small size of the hoary fox makes it an agile and fast-running animal, while its relatively weak teeth adapt it to feeding on invertebrates, rather than larger prey.

[Image: hoary-fox.jpg]

Behaviour and diet
Hoary foxes are nocturnal, and largely solitary outside of the breeding season. They mainly eat insects, especially termites and dung beetles, but also may eat rodents, small birds, and fruit. Individuals have widely varying home ranges, depending on the local environment, but an average of 48 ha (120 acres) has been reported from pastures in Mato Grosso.

The hoary fox is native to south-central Brazil, although some sightings have been recorded from the north of the country, and Pleistocene fossils are known from Argentina. Although they may be found in more marginal habitats, they usually live in the cerrado, between 90 and 1,100 m (300 and 3,610 ft) elevation, where open woodlands, bushlands, and savannahs that are smooth or scattered with trees occur.

[Image: Hoary_Fox_area.png]

Hoary fox range

Females usually give birth to two to four pups in August to September, after a gestation period around 50 days. The sex ratio of the pups is equal between males and females. The female prepares a den in which to give birth, sometimes using the burrows of other animals. Weaning occurs around 4 months of age. Both parent participate in rearing of the pups.

Journal Reference:
Courtenay, O.; et al. (2006). "First observations on South America's largely insectivorous canid: the hoary fox (Pseudalopex vetulus)". Journal of Zoology. 268 (1): 45–54. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2005.00021.x

The breeding behaviour and social dynamics of a free‐ranging group of hoary foxes Pseudalopex vetulus were studied in the central cerrado (savannah) region of Brazil. The average adult size was 3.42 kg [95% confidence limits (CL): 2.92–3.91 kg]. The breeding pair occupied overlapping home ranges of 420–456 ha, where they reared a single litter of five offspring (M:F: 3:2) in 12 months. There were no additional adult group members and all offspring dispersed when c. 10 months old, at least three of which (both sexes) established a home range adjacent to the natal territory. The proportion of time invested in rearing offspring by the breeding female declined significantly (33–2%) with increasing offspring age (pre‐weaning to offspring independence), in contrast to that of the breeding male, which was relatively constant (17–29%); the male acted as a chaperone to foraging offspring, mostly in the absence of the breeding female. Hoary fox diet comprised predominantly of insects, particularly termites and dung beetles, none of which was sufficiently bulky to make carriage to the cubs energetically efficient.

[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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