Crabeating fox

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Cerdocyon thous


Canis thous (Linnaeus, 1766), Surinam. This species is quite similar to the more widespread genus of South American canids, Dusicyon, and has been included in the latter genus on several occasions. Molecular evidence is needed to resolve this issue. Fossil Cerdocyon from North America probably represent a colonization from South America. Five subspecies have been erected but are not well defined.


English: Common fox, forest fox; Spanish: Zorro comun, zorro sabanero, zorro perro.


A medium sized canid weighing about 11.0 lb (5 kg) (range: 6.6-19.8 lb [3-9 kg]), Cerdocyon has relatively short legs (second only to the bush dog amongst the canids in its ratio of fore-limb to body length). The hair is pale gray with black hair tips. A reddish tinge on the belly and flanks is also common. The skull dimensions best represent the average skull for the family falling in the middle of a multi-variate plot.


Crab-eating foxes occupy a large area of eastern South America from Venezuela in the north to northern Argentina in the south. They do not occur in the densest parts of the Amazon forests.


The species occupies a wide range of habitats. They are most common in "edge" habitats with a mixture of woodlands and open country. They can also survive in closed-canopy forests and grassland. However, they do not occupy more open country if Dusicyon gymnocercus, Azara's fox, is present in that habitat. They live in the seasonally flooded areas of Amazonia but not the thick forests.


The species is monogamous and pairs live in territories, which are marked by the pair with urine and feces. Territories can be as small as 0.2 mi2 (0.5 km2) and as large as 3.9 mi2 (10 km2) in less productive areas. In the seasonally flooded Llanos ranges shift and are less rigorously defended in the wet season when food is abundant. Pairs use a loud whistling vocalization to reunite.


The species forages at night and solitarily. They are omnivorous with a very varied diet. During the dry season in Venezuela

48% of the diet is vertebrates with 31% land crabs. During the wet season 54% of the diet is invertebrates, mainly beetles and grasshoppers, and small mammals make up 20%. Fruit and carrion form the remainder of the food. Frogs, lizards, mushrooms, and snails have also been found in stomachs.


Monogamous. Breeding occurs once a year in the wild, but is not strictly seasonal. (In captivity females can produce a litter every eight months, and reproduction does not seem to be tightly linked to patterns of daylight length.) Litter size varies from two to six with an average of four after a gestation of 52-59 days. Both parents provision the young and pups start to forage on their own around four months. Dispersal occurs from six to nine months.


The species remains widespread. It can colonize areas of cleared forest and can live close to human settlement. Like almost all canids it is hunted, but its fur is not useful.


The crab-eating fox is usually inconspicuous. It may kill chickens but is not of great significance to humans. ♦

Common name /

Scientific name/


Habitat and


Other common names






Arctic fox

Two color phases, white and blue. Head

Mainly in alpineand arctic

Circumpolar, entire

Any human food, dead or

Not threatened

Alopex lagopus

and body length 18-26.6 in (45.8-67.5

tundra, usually in coastal

tundra zone of the

alive, carrion, marine

Spanish: Zorro polar

cm), tail length 10-16.7 in (25.5-

areas. Makes den in low

Holarctic, including

mammals, invertebrates,

42.5 cm).

mounds with 4 to 12 entran

most of the Arctic

sea birds, and fish.

ces. Seasonal movements


Predator of the ringed

associated with food avail-

seal in winter and


lemmings when on land.

Short-eared dog

Upperparts dark gray to black, underparts

Tropical forests from sea level Amazon, upper Orinoco, Nothing is known about

Data Deficient

Atelocynus microtis

rufous mixed with gray and black.

to about 3,280 ft (1,000 m).

upper Parana basins in

the food habits of this

Spanish: Zorro de orejas

Thickly haired, black tail. Head and body

Males dominant in most

Brazil, Peru, Ecuador,

species in the wild.


length 28.3-39.4 in (72-100 cm), tail


Colombia, and probably

Observations suggest

length 9.8-13.8 in (25-35 cm).


a carnivorous diet,

although may eat fruit

in the wild if prey is


Side-striped jackal

Coat is long, soft, partially mottled gray.

Moister parts of savannas,

Open woodland and

Consists of various types

Not threatened

Canis adustus

Each side of body is lined with white hair,

thickets, forest edge, culti-

semi-arid grassland

of invertebrates, small

Spanish: Chacal de dorso

followed by line of dark hair. Underparts

vated areas, and rough

from Senegal to

vertebrates, carrion,


and tip of tail are white. Head and body

country up to 8,860 ft

Ethiopia, south to

and plant material.

length 25.6-31.9 in (65-81 cm), tail

(2,700 m) in elevation.

northern Namibia,

length 11.8-16.1 in (30-41 cm).

Strictly nocturnal. Social

northern Botswana,

groups are well spaced.


Litters consist of 3 to 6

Mozambique, and


northern South Africa.

Black-backed jackal

Dark saddle on length of back to tip of

Dry grassland, brushland,

Africa, south of the

An important predator

Not threatened

Canis mesomelas

tail. Sides, head, limbs, and ears are

and open woodland. Basic

tropical rainforest in

of sheep.

Spanish: Chacal de lomo

rufous. Underparts pale ginger. Slender

social unit is mated pair and

the west and as far


build, very large ears. Head and body

their young. About four

north as Ethiopia and

length 26.8-29.3 in (68-74.5 cm), tail

young per litter.

Sudan in the east.

length 11.8-15 in (30-38 cm).


Upperparts are rusty red, underparts

Many types of habitat, but

Southern Siberia and

Mainly mammals larger


Cuon alpinus

pale, tail tipped with black. Head and

avoids deserts. Alpine areas,

central Asia to India

than itself, including

Spanish: Dolo

body length 34.6-44.5 in (88-113 cm),

dense forest, and thick scrub

and the Malay

deer, wild pigs, mountain

tail length 15.7-19.7 in (40-50 cm).

jungles are a few. Hunts in

Peninsula, and on the

sheep, gaur, and

packs. Five to 10 individuals

islands of Sumatra and


within a pack.

Java, but not Sri Lanka.


Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

Falkland Island wolf Dusicyon australis Spanish: Zorro de las Malvinas

Pampas fox

Pseudalopex gymnocercus Spanish: Zorro gris mayor


Pseudalopex culpaeus German: Andenschakal; Spanish: Zorro colorado

Falkland Islands.

Upperparts are brown, some rufous and speckles of white. Underparts pale brown. Coat is soft and thick. Tail is short, bushy, tipped with white. Head and body length 38.2 in (97 cm), tail length 11.2 in (28.5 cm).

Coloration is pale yellow, underparts and Pampas grasslands, hills, and Argentina, north of Rio Rodents of all kinds,

Found 250 ml (400 km) away from mainland, on Islands. Very tame toward humans. Little Is known.

Consists mainly of birds, especially geese and penguins, as well as pinnipeds.


Not threatened back are gray. Head, neck, and large ears are reddish. Muzzle is black. Long, bushy tail with two black spots. Throat and belly are whitish. Head and body length 24.4 in (62 cm), tail length 13.4 in (34 cm).

deserts. They prefer plains and fields with tall grass, sierras, small narrow woods, and areas along streams.

Negro, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and eastern Bolivia.

birds, rabbits, frogs, lizards, fruit, and other vegetable matter like sugar cane stalks.

Size increases the farther south the range Pampas grasslands and deci- From Tierra del Fuego Rodents and lagomorphs Not threatened

Is. Males are larger than females. Coloration Is brownish tawny, underparts are paler. Back Is gray, tail Is tipped with black.

duous forests of their range. through the Andes of (rabbits and hares), as

Hierarchical matriarchal society. Mating period is from August to October. Strong hierarchical sense in social groups.

Chile and Argentina to the highlands of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

well as lambs a week old and younger

Bush dog

Speothos venaticus Spanish: Perro vinagre

Gray fox

Urocyon cinereoargenteus Spanish: Zorro gris plateado

Island fox Urocyon littoralis Spanish: Zorro gris isleño

Coloration is ochraceous fawn or tawny into dark brown or black on back and tail. Underparts are dark with a light patch on chin and throat. Stocky body, short, with broad muzzle. Tail is short. Head and body length 22.6-29.5 in (57.575 cm), tail length 4.9-5.9 in (12.515 cm).

Underparts are gray or white, ventral parts are rusty. Tail is tipped in black and the pelage is coarse. Head and body length 19-27 in (48.3-68.5 cm), tail length 10.8-17.5 in (27.53-44.5 cm).

Underparts are gray, ventral parts are rusty. Head and body length 18.9-19.7 in (48-50 cm), tail length 4.3-11.4 in (11-29 cm).

Forests and wet savannas, often near water. Mainly diurnal, semi-aquatic. Litter of two to three individuals are produced during the rainy seasons.

Wooded and brushy country, often in rocky or broken terrain. Prefer pine-oak woodland bordering fields. Frequently climbs trees. Mostly nocturnal.

Wooded and brushy country, often in rocky or broken terrain. Prefer pine-oak woodland bordering fields. Frequently climbs trees. Mostly nocturnal.

Forested areas of Bolivia, Mainly large rodents.

Paraguay, and Brazil

(except the semiarid northeast), eastern

Peru, Ecuador,

Colombia, Venezuela,

Guyana, French Guiana,

Suriname, and Panama.


Many kinds of small vertebrates, insects, and vegetable matter.

Not threatened

North America from Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado in the West and the USA-Canadian border in the East through Central America to northern Colombia and Venezuela.

Islands off the Pacific Many kinds of small Lower Risk/ Coast of southern vertebrates, insects, and Conservation California, United States. vegetable matter. Dependent

Tibetan fox Vulpes ferrilata English: Tibetan sand fox; Spanish: Zorro tibetano

Corsac fox Vulpes corsac Spanish: Zorro corsac

Swift fox Vulpes velox

English: Kit fox; Spanish: Zorro veloz

General coloration of upperparts is gray or sandy, underparts pale. Tip of tail is white. Head and body length 22.6-27.6 in (57.5-70 cm), tail length 15.7-18.7 in (40-47.5 cm).

Fur is thick, soft, generally pale reddish gray, underparts are white or yellow. Head and body length 19.7-23.6 in (50-60 cm), tail length 9.8-13.8 in (25-35 cm).

Coloration of upperparts is dark buffy gray, underparts are buff to pure white. Coat is redder in summer. Head and body length 14.8-20.7 in (37.552.5 cm), tail length 8.9-13.8 in (22.535 cm).

Barren slopes and in stream beds at 9,840-13,120 ft (3,000-4,000 m) in the Mustang District of Nepal. Dens are made of boulders. Two to five young born a year.

Steppes and semi-desert. Lives in a burrow. Mainly nocturnal activity, but has been seen by day. Nomadic, does not keep fixed home range. Very social.

Prairies, especially those with grasses of short and medium height. Builds burrows for shelter. Primarily nocturnal.

China, in Tibet, Tsinghai, Consists of rodents, Kansu, and Yunnan; lagomorphs, and ground and Nepal. birds.

Not threatened

Kazakhstan, Russia, central Asia, Mongolia, Transbaikalia, northeastern China, and northern Afghanistan.

Consists mostly of small rodents, but also pikas, birds, insects, and plant material.

Data Deficient

Central North America Consists mostly of from southeastern lagomorphs, as well as

British Columbia, south- rodents, birds, lizards, central Alberta and and insects.


Saskatchewan (Canada)

to northwest Texas

(panhandle) and eastern

New Mexico, east of

Rockies (United States).

Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependent

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