Animals

15 Culpeo Facts You’ll Never Forget

Culpeo facts about the predators of the Chilean desert, Magallanes culpeos, and the highlands of Peru
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The culpeo (Lycalopex Culpaeus) is a native species of South America that is categorized under the Canidae family. These tawny or rufous shaded animals, though recognized as foxes, are more closely related to jackals and wolves in comparison to the true fox clan. In fact, it was the analogous structures that resulted from convergent evolution, that led to the morphological resemblance between Lycalopex culpaeus and true foxes. Though the individuals of the culpeo species were domesticated along with the years 1880 and 1919, as of now they are extinct. The domesticated form of lycalopex culpaeus was recognized as the Fuegian dog. Culpeos can be found in regions like Central Chile, northern Chile, the Chilean desert, and the highlands of Peru.

The subspecies of the culpeo fox include lycalopex culpaeus magellanicus, lycalopex culpaeus andinus, lycalopex culpaeus lycoides, lycalopex culpaeus culpaeus, and lycalopex culpaeus reissii. Read along to discover some amusing facts about these endearing South American foxes. After reading these interesting facts about the species culpeos, check our other articles on fennec fox facts and fox facts as well.

Culpeo

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Rodents, Sheep, Chicken, Birds, Animal Carrion

What do they eat?

Omnivores

Average litter size?

2-5

How much do they weigh?

Males: 22-25 lb (9.9 - 11.3 kg) Females: 17-19 lb (7.7 - 8.6 kg)

How long are they?

23.5-47 in (59.69 - 119 cm)


How tall are they?

Medium size


What do they look like?

Tawny Coat, Bushy Tail With Black Tip

Skin Type

Fur Coat

What are their main threats?

Habitat Loss, Predators

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Chile, Peru

Locations

Zorro Colorado, Zorro Colorado de Tierra del Fuego in Chile

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Lycalopex Culpaeus

Family

Canidae

Genus

Lycalopex

Culpeo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a culpeo?

A culpeo is a species of Andean fox that can be located along the terrains of South America. In fact, the pseudalopex culpaeus are designated to be the second-largest member of the Canidae family in South America. Though culpeo foxes are categorized as omnivorous animals the main diet of culpeos includes carnivorous food habits. The Andean fox primarily feeds on other animals for survival. Besides carnivorous behavior, pseudalopex culpaeus act as scavengers as they also feed on carrion.

What class of animal does a culpeo belong to?

The culpeo belongs to class Mammalia; that is, vertebrate organisms that are characterized by the presence of milk-producing mammary glands by which the females feed their young, body is covered with fur or hair, presence of a neocortex (a region of the brain), and three middle ear bones.

How many culpeos are there in the world?

There are no exact details about the total population of the pseudalopex culpaeus. However, as of today, the population distribution of the Andean fox can be safely assumed to be quite steady since they are categorized under the Least Concern category on the conservation scale. The Culpeo populations can be found across Central Chile, northern Chile, the Chilean desert, and Peru.

Where does a culpeo live?

Lycalopex culpaeus are the native residents of South America. The distribution range of the geographical topography inhabited by these foxes ranges from Ecuador and Peru to the southern parts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. A span of the culpeo population can also be located along regions of Colombia. Additionally, these members of the Canidae family also settled along the western slopes of the Andes.

What is a culpeo's habitat?

The zorro culpeo can be located in a wide range of habitats such as the rugged terrains, deep valleys, mountain terrains, broadleaf Nothofagus temperate rainforest, high plateaus (such as the Altiplano), deserts, and along the sclerophyllous matorral.

Who do culpeo live with?

The members of the culpeo (culpaeus lycalopex) species live a solitary existence. However, these south American foxes are observed to socialize with the other members of their species during breeding seasons.

How long does a culpeo live?

There is no accurate estimation of the lifespan of the culpeo; as of now, the method to determine their longevity unknown. However, the age of the oldest culpeo foxes in the wild was estimated to be about 11 years; though there is no precise data backing this up.

How do they reproduce?

There are no direct details about the mating procedures of culpeos. However, according to vague theories, the reproductive cycle in these mammals is believed to start with the onset of the heat cycle in females. The breeding season in lycalopex culpaeus span from August to October. During this time the male culpeo members of the species are attracted to the estrus female. Following fertilization, a gestation period of 55 to 60 days is observed in the females of lycalopex culpaeus species, and an average litter size ranging between two and five pups is observed. The offspring are born with no body hair and closed eyelids.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the culpeo (lycalopex culpaeus) have been categorized under the conservation status of Least Concern. The species has been categorized as of Least Concern in terms of conservation as their populations are stable across the range of habitat.

Culpeo Fun Facts

What do culpeos look like?

The culpeo's gestation period range is 55-60 days.

With an average length of 23.5-47 in (59.6 - 119.3 cm), including the span of its tail, culpeos constitute the largest members of the biological genera lycalopex. The pelt of these South American foxes ranges in color from reddish-brown to tawny with tinges of white and black here and there. The area descending from the chin towards the belly of culpeos (lycalopex culpaeus) is marked in white hues. Whereas other parts of their anatomical structure, such as the shoulders, head, neck, flanks, and ears of this fox species are either reddish-brown or tawny. A black color can be spotted along the tips of its bushy gray tails as well as along the darker dorsal side of the pelt, where it occurs in combination with streaked gray tones. The culpeo (lycalopex culpaeus) has pointed ears, long snouts, and a triangular facial structure. Sexual dimorphism can be observed since the male members of the species are larger than their female counterparts. Adapting to the winter season the fur coating of culpeos becomes thicker and longer.

How cute are they?

On a scale of one to five, a culpeo can score an easy four for its endearing and adorable looks.

How do they communicate?

Like most other members of the Canidae family, the communication channels of species culpeos include growls, physical cues and postures, scent detection, screaming noises, and sound perception.

How big is a culpeo?

With the honor of being the second-largest member of the Canidae family in South America, culpeos are a little less than twice the size of an average baby. The average length of lycalopex culpaeus ranges between 23.5-47 in (59.6 - 119.3 cm).

How fast can a culpeo run?

There are no exact details about the running speed of culpeos. However, since these canids belong to a family of foxes, their running speed can be estimated to fall somewhere between 30-43 mph (48.2 - 69.2 kph); that is the average running speed of canids.

How much does a culpeo weigh?

The overall weight of culpeos ranges between 11-30 lb (4.9 - 13.6 kg). The males are typically larger with an average weight of about 25 lb (11.3 kg), whereas the average weight of the female canids is about 19 lb (8.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Since the members of lycalopex culpaeus are recognized as foxes, the males and females of the species are known by the generic names used for the members of the fox clan. The males culpeos are referred to as tods, reynards, or dogs, whereas the females are known as vixens.

What would you call a baby culpeo?

The offspring of culpeos are known as cubs, pups, or kits.

What do they eat?

Culpeos are omnivorous animals. Their diet includes rodents, livestock, like sheep and chickens, birds, eggs of various reptiles and birds, carrion, and lizards. Occasionally culpeos also survive on plants and fruit.

Are they dangerous?

In general, the members of the culpeo species are not outright dangerous, except for the livestock populations, such as sheep and chickens. However, like all wild animals, culpeos do exhibit the potential to be dangerous if provoked or threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a culpeo will not make a good pet because they are wild carnivorous animals. Besides being harmful to other smaller pets in houses or farms, these foxes might prove to be detrimental to humans as well.

Did you know...

Besides its scientific nomenclature, lycalopex culpaeus, these tawny or rufous foxes are also recognized by nicknames such as the Andean fox, zorro culpeo, or Andean zorro, and  Patagonian fox, Patagonian red fox, common Andean fox, and Andean Wolf.

What animal eats culpeo?

Though these fox-like members of the family Canidae do not face any serious threat from predators, pumas are known to occasionally prey on culpeos.

How does a culpeo interact in its environment?

The interaction of culpeos with their environment is beneficial in a number of ways. The prey and host behavior of these south American foxes (pseudalopex) helps in the transfer of the energy to the next trophic levels of the ecological pyramids.

Since these wild animals also feed on fruit, they facilitate seed dispersal. Seed pollination in peumo (cryptocarya alba) and Peruvian pepper (Schinus molle) is noted to increase severalfold by the feeding action of culpeos.

The predatory behavior of these pseudalopex carnivorous animals contributes to the ecological balance. By feeding on the dead and decaying bodies of wild animals, the culpeo help in enriching the soil content, a highly beneficial ecological activity.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including bison facts or white German shepherd facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable culpeo coloring pages.

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