- Gray Fox
name = Gray FoxMSW3 Wozencraft | pages = | id = 14000841]
status = LC
status_system = iucn2.3
status_ref = IUCN2007|assessors=Cypher "et al"|year=2004|id=22780|title=Urocyon cinereoargenteus|downloaded=06 May 2008 Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern]
trend = stable
phylum = Chordata
genus = "
species = "U. cinereoargenteus"
binomial = "Urocyon cinereoargenteus"
binomial_authority = (Schreber, 1775)
range_map_caption = Gray Fox range
The Gray Fox ("Urocyon cinereoargenteus") is a
mammalof the order Carnivoraranging throughout most of the southern half of North Americafrom southern Canadato northern Venezuelaand Colombia.cite web | title="Urocyon cinereoargenteus" | work=Animal Diversity Web | url=http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Urocyon_cinereoargenteus.html | accessdate=2007-08-19 ] This species and the closely related Island Foxare the only living members of the genus" Urocyon", which is considered to be among the most primitive of the living canids.
Description and behaviour
The Gray Fox is distinguished from most other
canids by its grizzled upper parts, buff neck and black-tipped tail, while the skull can be distinguished from all other North American canids by its widely separated temporal ridges that form a U-shape. There is little sexual dimorphism, save for the males being slightly larger than females. The Gray Fox ranges from 800 to 1125 mm (31.5 to 41.3 inches) in length. Its tail measures 275 to 443 mm (10.8 to 17.5 inches) and its hind feet measure 100 to 150 mm (4.9 to 5.9 inches). It weighs 3.6 to 6.82 kg (7.9 to 15 lbs).
The Gray Fox's ability to climb trees is shared only with the Asian
Raccoon Dogamong canids. Its strong, hooked claws allow it to scramble up trees to escape predators such as the Domestic Dogor the Coyote, or to reach tree-bound or arboreal food sources. It descends primarily by jumping from branch to branch, or by descending slowly backwards as a House Cat. The Gray Fox is nocturnalor crepuscularand dens in hollow trees, stumps or appropriated burrows during the day.
The Gray Fox is
monogamous. The breeding season of the Gray Fox varies geographically; in Michigan, the Gray Fox mates in early March, in Alabama, breeding peaks occur in February. The gestation period lasts about 53 days. Litter size ranges from 1 to 7. Kits begin to hunt with their parents at the age of 3 months. By the time they are 4 months old, the kits have developed their permanent dentition and can forage on their own. The family group remains together until autumn when the young reach sexual maturity and disperse.
The Gray Fox is a solitary hunter and is largely
omnivorous. It frequently preys upon the Eastern Cottontail("Sylvilagus floridanus"), though it will readily catch voles, shrews, and birds. The Gray Fox supplements its diet with whatever fruits are readily available and generally eats more vegetable matter than does the Red Fox("Vulpes vulpes").
There are 16 subspecies recognized for this fox:
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus cinereoargenteus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus borealis"
Urocyon cinereoargenteus californicus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus costaricensis"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus floridanus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus fraterculus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus furvus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus guatemalae"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus madrensis"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus nigrirostris"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus ocythous"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus orinomus"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus peninsularis"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus scottii"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus townsendi"
*"Urocyon cinereoargenteus venezuelae"
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