The kit fox is a small mammal of the Southwest desert weighing only about three to six pounds. They closely resemble swift foxes found on the eastern plains of Colorado, but have larger ears and a more angular appearance. They have long, black-tipped, bushy tails, dark muzzles and a yellow-gray grizzled coat. They typically reach 3.5 to five pounds, making them about the size of a full-grown jackrabbit.
Range: In Colorado, kit foxes live in the semi-desert shrub lands extending from Montrose to Grand Junction. The mammals can also be found in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, southern Idaho, southern Oregon and central Mexico.
Habitat: Kit foxes occupy sparsely-covered, semi-desert shrublands of saltbrush, shadscale and greasewood. They spend most of their days in dens that are scattered around the landscape and which are very important for raising young and avoiding predators, such as coyote. Kit foxes generally live in small groups, digging clusters of dens with multiple entrances. The animals move from one den to another and emerge at night to hunt.
Diet: The fox primarily prey on cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits and kangaroo rats, but will also eat birds, reptiles, and insects when prey is scarce.
Reproduction: Dens are scattered within their territories. Kit foxes are active year-round and mate sometime between December and February. Gestation lasts just under two months, and most litters contain four or five pups.
Endangered status: The kit fox is listed as endangered in Colorado, and is considered one of the state's most vulnerable animals with only about 100 in residence. Conversion of the kit foxes' native grounds to agriculture and development usage has resulted in a loss of habitat. Predation by coyotes, road-kill, trapping, shooting and predator poisoning are the main causes of mortality for the foxes. Once a furbearer in Colorado, the kit fox has been protected since 1994.
For more information, see the Natural Diversity Information Source species profile.