Animals

Darwin's Fox: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Interesting Darwin fox facts which are informative and fun to learn.
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The Darwin's fox (Lycalopex fulvipes), also known as zorro chilote is native to Chile mainland and Chiloé Island. It usually lives in Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region) and the Valdivian Coastal Range. Charles Darwin, the founder of these foxes previously believed that it was a subspecies of South American gray fox but later placed as a separate species. The populations of Darwin's foxes are declining continuously around the world. Less than 1,000 individuals are left on the Earth. Therefore, the IUCN has listed them as Critically Endangered animals.

They prefer temperate rain forests. In the wild, it feeds on various animals, birds, reptiles, and fruits. It generally goes into human settlements near the forest in search of food. This fox usually lives alone rather than in a group. In general, the temperament of Darwin's fox is friendly and cool, but it is advisable to not go near the animal. There is not much information available regarding the mating behavior of this creature.

Foxes are similar to dogs but are wild and dangerous than dogs. To know more about foxes, you can also check out these bat eared fox facts and fennec fox facts.

Darwin's Fox

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Mammals, beetles, reptiles, birds, and amphibians

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

2-3

How much do they weigh?

4.0-8.7 lb (1.8 to 3.95 kg)

How long are they?

19-23 in (48-59 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Black, gray, white, and brown

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Domestic dogs, habitat loss, and bridge construction

What is their conservation status?

Critically endangered

Where you'll find them

Southern temperate rain forest

Locations

Chile and Chiloé island

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Lycalopex fulvipes

Family

Canidae

Genus

Lycalopex

Darwin's Fox Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Darwin's fox?

Darwin's fox, Pseudalopex fulvipes is a fox found in Chile and Chiloé Island.

What class of animal does Darwin's Fox belong to?

Darwin's fox, also known as zorro de Darwin or zorro Chilcote is a canid that belongs to the class Mammalia in phylum Chordata.

How many Darwin's foxes are there in the world?

Scientists have estimated Darwin's fox population size to be less than 1,000 mature individuals. There are nearly 200 individuals on the Chiloé island and around 50 individuals in the Nahuelbuta on the mainland. So the total population size is 250 alone in Chile and Chiloé Island.

Where does a Darwin's fox live?

The Lycalopex fulvipes live in the forests of mainland Chile and Chiloé Island. The island is in the west of Chile that is covered in tropical rain forests. It is usually found in the major proportion of the island, except some northern region which is occupied by humans. The distribution range is from Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region) to the Valdivian Coastal Range (Los Ríos Region). In 1834, it was first reported in San Pedro Island by the popular scientist Charles Darwin. It was believed for a long period that Darwin's zorro was a subspecies of the South American gray fox, Lycalopex griseus. Although, the exploration of a diminutive population of Darwin's fox in Nahuelbuta National Park in the year 1990 and consequent analysis of genes of zorro de Darwin has defined the status of this fox as a unique species. With the help of camera trapping, the presence of the fox was recorded at the Valdivian Coastal Reserve and Oncol Park, Alerce Costero National Park in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

What is Darwin's Fox's habitat?

Darwin's fox inhabits second growth forest and old forest vegetation. It prefers temperate rain forests. In its endemic place that is Chiloé Island, it likes to live in the Valdivian forest which consists of conifer plants, evergreen species, and some angiosperms. The northern and eastern regions which are inhabited by people and the most area is used for agriculture have had some impact on the landscape. On the other hand, on the west shore of the island, Darwin's fox uses an evergreen forest divided by sand dunes. The mainland in Chile constituted of dense forest composed of monkey puzzle trees and about five types of beech. In Nahuelbuta National Park, the fox habitat ranges from 0.5-0.9 mile (950-1462 m). They often come to human settlements in search of food.

Who do Darwin's foxes live with?

While most species of fox are social creatures that live in a group known as a pack, earth, or skulk. Darwin's foxes are solitary animals and usually pair up only in the breeding season in Chile mainland and Chiloé Island.

How long does a Darwin's fox live?

In the wild, the lifespan of Pseudalopex fulvipes is up to seven years.

How do they reproduce?

There is little information available regarding the mating behavior in Darwin's foxes. They are monogamous animals. The breeding season initiates in the month of October, and cubs leave the den in December. The clutch size in this fox species is two to three pups. The majority of conclusions about breeding comes from the inspections on lactating female foxes caught during confining of the Chiloé Island and mainland populations. Both parents participate in the caring and development of their offspring. Cubs share their parent's home range for an undecided amount of time.

What is their conservations status?

Darwin's foxes (Pseudalopex fulvipes) were first discovered by Charles Darwin, a naturalist. According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the status of Darwin's foxes is Critically Endangered. Although, in 2016, the status of this species was Endangered as it was believed that the occurrence is in a significantly larger area. Present estimates of the total population are still not very high, with approximately 227 adults on the mainland and 412 on the island. The mainland population evaluated to be on rising, maybe because of a decline in the number of South American gray foxes in the region. The high frequency is due to the huge overlap in the territories of both fox species. Destruction of forest in front of the national park and on the Chiloé Island is major trouble to foxes conservation in addition with the feral or domestic dogs which can attack the foxes or also capable of spreading diseases that can kill them. They also have threats from the humans who believe that the foxes feed on domestic fowls. Other major threats to the population of Darwin's foxes include the conversion of forest into agricultural lands and deforestation which restricts the range of these foxes, particularly in the Nahuelbuta National Park in the mainland. The foxes of Darwin show only a little fear of human beings.

Darwin's Fox Fun Facts

What do Darwin's foxes look like?

Darwin's foxes have a length range of 19-23 in (48-59 cm) and a tail length range of 7-10 in (17.5-25.5 cm). The weight is 4.0-8.7 lb (1.8-3.95 kg). They look like dogs in their overall appearance. There is no difference between male and female appearance, except that male has a wider muzzle. Male foxes have a cool temperament towards other males. They roam freely in each other territories. The key features of foxes include short legs and an extended body. The fur is a combination of black and white hair with brown borders on the ears and on the bottom of the legs. There are white markings under the chin and along the underside. There is not much information available about the fox, Darwin's fox adaptations. The total number of populations of the Darwins fox in 2020 is unknown. Conservation care and importance have been given to these animals to protect their populations, but their population has gone almost extinct today.

Darwin's foxes have brown to black and dark gray fur on their body.

How cute are they?

Fox Darwin's are Endangered species of small, dog like animals. They are adorable to watch. These animals are an important tourist attraction in Chile and Chiloé Island.

How do they communicate?

No information is available regarding the communication in this Darwin's fox. However, like other fox species, it probably uses vocalization, olfactory organs, and different postures to communicate with each other or to terrify predators. In general, all canids have excellent senses of hearing, touch, and smell. However, the Darwin fox behavior is unknown as their population has been going extinct.

How big is a Darwin's fox?

The body length of Darwin's fox or Zorro chilote ranges from 19-23 in (48-59 cm), which is around 20 times bigger than a doxle dog.

How fast can a Darwin's Fox move?

Like other species, Darwin's fox is a fast moving animal. It can run up to 45 mph (72 kph).

How much does a Darwin's fox weigh?

The weight of Darwin's fox is 4.0-8.7 lb (1.8-3.95 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male Darwin's fox is known as a dog fox or a tod, whereas the female is called a vixen.

What would you call a baby Darwin's fox?

The baby Darwin's fox is called a cub, pup, or kit.

What do they eat?

They are opportunistic animals. Their diet is variable that depends upon the amount of food available in the region. They have a wide diet. In wild, the foxes feed on mammals, reptiles, amphibians, beetles, birds, and other invertebrates. Occasionally, their diet includes fruits, berries, and seeds. They also eat carrions, but the majority of the diet consists of fruit and animals. Therefore, they are mostly omnivores, and occasionally scavengers. Darwin's foxes are solitary hunters. However, in places where South American gray fox species are less active, the behavior of these foxes is nocturnal. Interestingly, Darwin's fox usually hunts alone rather than in a group.

Are they dangerous?

Like other species of foxes, Darwin's foxes are not dangerous animals, except to other pets and livestock. In fact, they are friendly and curious animals.

Would they make a good pet?

As Darwin's foxes are Endangered species, it may be not possible to keep them as pets.

Did you know...

Darwin's foxes consider as seed spreaders of some important plant species in Chile and Chiloé Island.

How are Darwin's foxes different from other fox species?

The key difference between Darwin's foxes and other foxes is that the former species have a unique black and gray coat with light brown markings on the ear. Unlike other species, Darwin's foxes are more curious.

Why is Darwin's fox going extinct?

There are various causes behind the decline of Darwin's foxes, such as habitat loss, construction of a bridge on the Island, feral dogs, and other predators. Due to the small number of individuals that existing in the world, the IUCN listed Darwin's fox as a Critically Endangered species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Arctic fox facts and red fox facts pages.

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

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