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Corsac Fox - Vulpes corsac
Corsac Fox - Vulpes corsac

[Image: Vulpes_corsac.jpg]

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

Description: The Corsac fox is a medium-sized fox, with a head and body length of 45 to 65 cm (18 to 26 in), and a tail 19 to 35 cm (7.5 to 13.8 in) long. Adults weigh from 1.6 to 3.2 kilograms (3.5 to 7.1 lb). It has grey to yellowish fur over much of the body, with paler underparts and pale markings on the mouth, chin, and throat. During the winter, the coat becomes much thicker and silkier in texture, and is straw-grey in colour, with a darker line running down the back.
For a fox, it has small teeth and a wide skull. One source claims that this species can climb trees and has been domesticated in the past. It is reported to have keen eyesight and hearing and an acute sense of smell. It has a number of scent glands, some of which produce pungent odors, although not as extreme as those found in some other Vulpes species. The glands are found in the anal region, above the base of the tail, and on the paws and cheeks. Corsac foxes are reported to bark during hunting or when threatening rivals, and to use higher pitch yelps or chirps as alarm calls or social greetings.

Distribution and habitat: Corsac foxes live in the steppes and semidesert of central and northeast Asia. They are found throughout Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and through all except the northernmost regions of Mongolia. In the south, their range extends into the more northern parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and China, and they can also be found in neighbouring regions of Russia.

Three subspecies are currently recognised:
  • Vulpes corsac corsac - northern Kazakhstan, southern Siberia
  • V. c. kalmykorum - northern Uzbekistan, Caucasus
  • V. c. turkmenicus - southern Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China, Mongolia, and neighbouring regions.
These foxes inhabit open grassy steppes and semideserts, and avoid dense vegetation and mountainous regions. True deserts with drifting sands are also avoided, as are snowfields more than about 15 cm (6 in) deep. Corsac foxes generally stay far away from human disturbances.

[Image: Corsac_area.png]

Diet and predators: As an adaption to the arid climate in which they live, corsac foxes need little water to survive, obtaining most of the moisture they need from their food. Their diets consist mainly of insects and small rodents, such as voles, gerbils, jerboas, hamsters, and ground squirrels. They may also eat larger prey from time to time, including hares and pikas, and will scavenge for carrion and human refuse. Although predominantly carnivorous, they do occasionally eat fruit and other vegetation, especially when animal prey are scarce. Natural predators of corsac foxes include wolves, eagles, buzzards, and eagle-owls.

Ecology: Corsac foxes are nocturnal and nomadic hunters of the steppes. They do not have a defended territory, and unlike some foxes, will sometimes form packs. Because they cannot hunt in deep snow, they will either shelter in their dens during harsh weather, or, in the northern parts of their range, they may migrate up to 600 km (370 mi) south in the winter. They have been reported to follow herds of local antelope, relying on them to compress the snow as they pass.
Corsac foxes shelter in burrows from harsh weather and larger predators. Although they can dig their own dens, these are generally shallow, and they often take over the burrows of other animals, such as marmots, ground squirrels, or badgers. Dens may have several entrances, but are usually less than 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) deep.The burrow is shared between the social packs, with several dens and connecting holes.
Corsac foxes are excellent climbers, but are rather slow runners and could be caught easily by a dog. While they are reported to be nocturnal in the wild, in captivity they are very active during the day. This can be explained by increasing human disturbances, causing them to become active at night to avoid humans.

Reproduction: The mating season starts in January and ends in March. Males will initially fight for access to females, but eventually establish a monogamous bond, and assist in the raising of their young. The mother initially creates a birthing den, which is sometimes shared with other pregnant females, but moves her young to new burrows several times after they are born.
Typically, two to six young are born after a gestation period of 52 to 60 days, although cases of ten kits being born in a single litter have been reported. Newborn kits weigh around 60 g (2.1 oz), and have fluffy, light brown fur that turns yellowish as they age. They are born blind, and open their eyes at around two weeks of age; they begin to eat meat at four weeks, and emerge from the den shortly after. Corsac foxes reach sexual maturity within 9 to 10 months and reproduce in the second year of life.

[Image: Fox---Vulpes-corsac---%28Gentry%29.jpg]
[-] The following 3 users Like Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu, Seta22, theGrackle
Seasonal food habits of corsac and red foxes in Mongolia and the potential for competition.

Competition often occurs between sympatric species that exploit similar ecological niches. Among canids, competition may be reduced by partitioning resources such as food, time, and habitat, but the mechanisms of coexistence remain poorly understood, particularly among fox species. We described the food habits of two foxes that live sympatrically across northern and central Asia, the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and red fox (V. vulpes), by analyzing scats collected during a field study in Mongolia. We analyzed 829 corsac and 995 red fox scats collected from April 2005 to August 2007 and tested the extent to which food partitioning occurred. The diets of both species consisted mainly of insects followed by rodents, but also included birds, reptiles, large mammal remains (carrion), plant material (including fruits and seeds), and garbage. Despite high overlap in the proportion of food items consumed, differences existed between species in overall diet with corsacs more frequently consuming beetles, but proportionally fewer crickets and large mammal remains than red foxes. We detected interspecific differences during the pup rearing and dispersal seasons, when prey was abundant, but not during the breeding season, when prey was scarce and diet overlap highest. Each species’ diet also differed seasonally and exhibited moderate overall breadth. Corsacs consumed proportionally more beetles and rodents during pup rearing and crickets during dispersal relative to other seasons, whereas red foxes consumed proportionally more crickets during pup rearing and dispersal and more rodents and large mammals during pup rearing and breeding relative to other seasons. Our results suggest that partitioning of food resources during most of the year facilitates coexistence, and that the potential for competition is highest during winter months.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu

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