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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 16 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals may live up to 10 years (Bernhard Grzimek 1990). One male specimen lived 16 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Untitled

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There are ten Vulpes species. Some species have a "foxy" odor arising mainly from a gland located on the dorsal surface of the tail, not far from the base (Walker, 1991).

The pale fox may be confused with the Fennec, and it is distingished from the Rueppell's fox by its black tipped tail (Dorst and Dandelot, 1970).

The skull of the pale fox and of the Rueppell's fox are similar except that the bullae of the pale fox are slightly larger and the nasals are appreciably longer (Rosevear, 1974).

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Conservation Status

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Little is known about the species. IUCN -- "insufficiently known."

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Benefits

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As a predator, the pale flox plays an important role in the balance of the ecological system and food chain.

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Cheryl Darden, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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The pale fox feeds on rodents, small animals, small reptiles, birds, eggs, vegetable matter (wild melons), and insects (Dorst and Dandelot, 1970; Grzimeck, 1990; Walker, 1990).

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; eggs; insects

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Distribution

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The pale fox is found from Senegal to Northern Sudan and Somalia (Grzimeck 1990).

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Habitat

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The pale fox digs extensive dens made of earth. The burrows are large, with tunnels extending 10-15 meters and opening into small chambers lined with dry vegetable material (Walker, 1991; Dorst and Dandelot, 1970).

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; scrub forest

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: wild:
10.0 years.

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Morphology

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The pale fox has an elongated, low body, relatively short legs and a narrow muzzle. Its ears are long and rounded at the tip. Its tail is bushy and is at least half as long as its body, and often fully as long. The tip of its tail is black. The upperpart of its body is pale and sandy in color, and the underpart is buffy white. The pupil of its eye generally appears elliptical in strong light. The fox's eye is surrounded by a dark ring (Walker, 1991; Rosevear, 1974).

Range mass: 1.5 to 3.6 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Reproduction

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No information is available on the mating system of this species.

There are 51-53 days in the gestation period of the pale fox. Three to six young are born per birth; each pup weighs 1.7-3.8 ounces, or 50-100 grams. The weaning period takes six to eight weeks. The pale fox's life span is not more than 10 years (Grzimeck, 1990).

Range number of offspring: 3 to 6.

Range gestation period: 51 to 53 days.

Range weaning age: 42 to 56 days.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 75 g.

Average number of offspring: 4.

Parental Investment: altricial

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Darden, C. 1999. "Vulpes pallida" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Vulpes_pallida.html
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Biology

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The nocturnal pale fox is thought to live in small family groups consisting of an adult male, an adult female and their young (5). They dig extensive dens, descending two to three metres and extending up to 15 metres, with the inner chambers lined with dry vegetation. These burrows allow the foxes to escape the heat of the day until dusk when they surface to search for food. Pale foxes primarily feed on fruits, berries and vegetable matter, and they possess well-developed molars suited to this largely herbivorous diet (3). However, they also sometimes catch and eat small animals such as rodents, lizards and invertebrates (2). From their diet, pale foxes obtain sufficient moisture to enable them to survive for the long, dry, hot seasons of their desert habitat (2). Pale foxes are believed to give birth to litters of three to four pups, after a gestation period of only seven to eight weeks. The development of the young foxes is just as quick, with weaning of the pups taking place after six to eight weeks (3). A pale fox in captivity lived to the age of three, but it is thought that in the wild they live to at least twice this age (3).
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Conservation

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It is thought likely that the pale fox occurs in some protected areas within its extensive range, but there is no conclusive information yet available. There are no known specific conservation measures in place for this species at present, and the greatest need is to determine the status, biology and ecological requirements of the mysterious pale fox through further studies (3).
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Description

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The pale fox is one of the least known of all fox species, maybe in part due to its pale, sandy coat that blends in with its desert habitat, and its nocturnal behaviour. Its large ears look enormous against its small body and thin legs (2) (3), and it also has long whiskers and black rings surrounding the eyes (4). The long, bushy tail is reddish brown, tipped with black and a dark patch above the tail indicates the presence of a scent gland (2) (3).
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Habitat

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The pale fox inhabits sandy and stony deserts and semi-desert areas, venturing south toward the more moist savannahs (2) (3).
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Range

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Occupies the band of African Sahel, south of the Sahara, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. There are four subspecies recognised; V.p. pallida occurs in Sudan, V.p. edwardsi inhabits Mali and Senegal, V.p. harterti is found in northern Nigeria northwards to Niger and westwards to Burkina Faso, and V.p. oertzeni ranges from Libya, through Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Chad, south to Sudan (2) (3).
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Status

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Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Threats

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One of the least known canid species, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has determined that there is insufficient information to conclude the extent to which the pale fox may be threatened with extinction (1). Potential threats include any alterations to the unstable and fluctuating habitat band it occupies (2), and occasional persecution after killing domestic birds (3).
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Pale fox

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The pale fox (Vulpes pallida) is a species of fox found in the band of African Sahel from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east.[1][3] It is one of the least studied of all canid species, in part due to its remote habitat and its sandy coat that blends in well with the desert-like terrain.[4]

Subspecies

There are five recognized subspecies:[1]

  • Vulpes pallida pallida
  • Vulpes pallida cyrenaica
  • Vulpes pallida edwardsi
  • Vulpes pallida harterti
  • Vulpes pallida oertzeni

Description

The pale fox is a small fox, with a long body and relatively short legs and an narrow muzzle. The fur is quite thin, with a pale sandy colour that turns white towards the abdomen. The back is often speckled with a blackish or a rufous colouration, with a darker mid-dorsal line. The flanks are paler than the dorsal pelage, blending into buffy-white underparts, and the legs are rufous. It has a pale face, an elongated muzzle with relatively long whiskers, and a dark ring surrounding the eye.[5]

Its tail is long and bushy, with a reddish brown color with a prominent black tip and a dark patch above the tail gland. The skull is small with a relatively short maxillary region and small sharp canine teeth.[6] The ears are large compared to other foxes but is typical of a desert inhabiting canid.[4]

Head and body length is 380–550 mm, tail length is 230–290 mm and weight 2.0–3.6 kg.[5]

Distribution and habitat

Pale fox is distributed in the semi-arid Sahelian region of Africa bordering the Sahara Desert, from Mauritania and Senegal via Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad to the Red Sea. The southern border of its range extends to the savanna zones of northern Guinea.[5] It is also present in Benin, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Mali, Niger, South Sudan and Sudan. The habitat is sandy or stony arid terrain, and the pale fox is able to relocate southwards and northwards in relation to the periodic droughts that affect these regions.[2]

Ecology

The pale fox typically inhabits stony deserts and semi-deserts although it occasionally ventures south into the savanna. The pale foxes are primarily nocturnal. They are gregarious, living in shared burrows,[7] probably in small family groups with parents and their young. During the day they rest in dug burrows that can extend up to 15 meters long and descend up to 2 meters to the ground, at dusk they venture out and forage for food, which includes plants and berries as well as rodents, reptiles and insects. It has the ability to retain water from its food, and can go almost completely without drinking.[4]

Status

Although the abundance of the pale fox is unknown, it seems to be a common species throughout its wide range. No particular threats have been identified although this fox is sometimes hunted because it raids villages and takes poultry, and it is sometimes killed by vehicles at night. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Wacher, T. (2012). "Vulpes pallida". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T23052A16813736.
  3. ^ "Pale fox (Vulpes pallida)". Canid Specialist Group. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Arkive - Pale fox". 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Sillero-Zubiri, C. (2004). "Pale fox Vulpes pallida (Cretzschmar, 1827)". In Sillero-Zubiri, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Macdonald, D. W. (eds.). Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals, and dogs : status survey and conservation action plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. p. 199. ISBN 978-2-8317-0786-0.
  6. ^ Clutton-Brock, Juliet; Corbet, Gordon B; Hills, Michael (1976). "A review of the family Canidae, with a classification by numerical methods". Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). 29: 117–199. doi:10.5962/bhl.part.6922.
  7. ^ Sheldon, Jennifer W. (1992). Wild dogs: the natural history of the non-domestic Canidae. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 182–184. ISBN 0-12-639375-3.
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Pale fox: Brief Summary

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The pale fox (Vulpes pallida) is a species of fox found in the band of African Sahel from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east. It is one of the least studied of all canid species, in part due to its remote habitat and its sandy coat that blends in well with the desert-like terrain.

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