Hoary Fox, Lycalopex vetulus

The hoary fox (Lycalopex vetulus), also known as the hoary zorro and raposinha-do-campo or “meadow fox” in Portuguese, is a small “false” fox that can be found in In Brazil. It is not a true fox, but a zorro, a species of dog that resembles a fox. Its range includes south-central Brazil, but some sightings have been reported in northern Brazil. It prefers a habitat within the Cerrado, which holds bushlands, open woodlands, and areas with sparse vegetation. It can be found at elevation between 300 and 3,600 feet. The hoary fox appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

The hoary fox can reach an average body length between twenty-three and twenty-eight inches, with a tail length of up to fourteen inches and weight of about six pounds to eight pounds. The fur on its upper body is grey, while the underbelly is yellowish brown to cream in color. The tip of the tail is black and holds a black stripe that may extend to the nape of the neck in males. The outer areas of the legs and the ears are reddish brown in color and melanistic individuals have been reported. Its slender body allows it to move quickly, but its teeth weaker than other canid species.

The hoary fox is mainly active at night and is solitary with the exception of the breeding season. Depending upon the type of habitat that an individual resides in, home ranges can be as large as 120 acres. Before giving birth, females will construct dens to give birth in and may use abandoned dens from other species. After a pregnancy period of about fifty days, a litter between two and four pups is born and these are weaned at four months of age. The diet of the hoary fox consists mainly of small invertebrates including insects like termites and dung beetles, but it is also known to eat small mammals, fruits, and birds.

Image Caption: Uma raposa domesticada no interior do Ceará. Credit: Elder lagar /Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)