Pale Fox - Mysterious Fox of the African Desert

The pale fox (Vulpes pallida) is also called the pallid fox or African sand fox. As these names suggest, the fox is pale in color in order to blend in with the pale sands found across mid-African countries such as Senegal, Sudan and Somalia. It is unknown how many are left in the wild. African farmers continue to hunt the pale fox whenever it kills domesticated fowl or steals eggs.

There are five subspecies of pale fox. All of them can interbreed, but all usually do not get a chance to interbreed in the wild, since each subspecies lives in its own geographical pocket. Subspecies have slightly different ear shape and coloration. Pale foxes are occasionally found for sale in North America in the exotic pet trade, but are not recommended as pets because their nutritional and health needs are still mostly unknown. Unlike another species of African fox, the fennec fox (Vulpes zerda), the pale fox is not easily tamed and does not do well in zoos.

Physical Description

The pale fox is a small, short-legged, long-whiskered fox with large ears in comparison to its head. The body color varies from a dark sandy brown to a pale silver-grey. The tips of their tails, or brushes, are often darker than the rest of the body. Its body length measures 15 to 17.7 inches (38 to 45 cm). It only weighs between 3.3 to 7.92 pounds (1.5 to 3.6 kilograms).
Males tend to be larger than females, but not always.

The pale fox has large eyes in comparison to the rest of the head. The eyes are often ringed in dark brown or black. Since the fox is nocturnal, the large eyes serve to capture even the most miniscule points of light. Their long whiskers also help them navigate in complete darkness and in underground tunnels. Its face resembles a cat more than it does a dog or European fox.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Sand foxes spend their days in shady underground tunnels and come up to the surface at dusk to hunt. Tunnels can be as deep as 9.84 feet (3 meters) and as long as 49.2 feet (15 meters). They dine on insects, small rodents, small lizards, eggs, small birds (including domesticated chickens) and any fruit they can find, especially melons. Since water is scarce in the desert or arid grasslands, they must get most of their water from their food. They live in small packs of 2 or 3 adult foxes and any offspring. Unlike many other mammals, only one female lives in a pack. The other adults are males.

A female or vixen has a gestation lasting only 7 to 8 weeks. She can have as many as 6 babies or kits. The tiny newborns weigh a mere 1.7 to 3.8 ounces (50 to 100 grams.) The kits are weaned when they are about 2 months old. Just how pale foxes pick their mates is still unknown. With luck, a pale fox can live 10 years in the wild. Unfortunately, the oldest pale fox in captivity lived to be only 3.

Keywords: white , tail , brown , black

The African sand fox, pale fox, pallid fox is listed as Data Deficient (DD), inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the pale fox
A young / baby of a pale fox is called a 'cub, kit or pup'. The females are called 'vixen' and males 'reynard, todd or dog'. A pale fox group is called a 'leash or skulk'.
Some facts about the
Pale fox

Adult weight : 2.8 kg (6.16 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 16 years

Gestation : 52 days

Litter size : 4

Weight at birth : 0.075 kg (0.165 lbs)

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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