The Kit Fox inhabits the deserts and arid lands of western North America. The species is common to rare, with population densities fluctuating with annual environmental conditions. Estimation of a population size for Mexico, or even population trends, is not possible with current information. However, because natural habitats occupied by the Kit Fox are being transformed, it is safe to assume that, overall, populations in Mexico are declining. The species currently does not meet any of the thresholds for the threatened categories, and is presently assessed as Least Concern.
Population trend: Decreasing
Habitat and Ecology: The Kit Fox inhabits arid and semi-arid regions encompassing desert scrub, chaparral, halophytic, and grassland communities (McGrew 1979; O'Farrell 1987). It is found in elevations ranging from 400–1,900 m a.s.l., although Kit Foxes generally avoid rugged terrain with slopes > 5% (Warrick and Cypher 1998). Loose textured soils may be preferred for denning. Kit Foxes will use agricultural lands, particularly orchards, on a limited basis, and also can inhabit urban environments (Morrell 1972).
Major Threats: The main threat to the long-term survival of
the Kit Fox is habitat conversion, mainly to agriculture but also to urban and
industrial development. In both western and eastern Mexico, prairie dog towns,
which support important populations of Kit Foxes are being converted to
agricultural fields, and in eastern Mexico the road network is expanding,
producing a concomitant increase in the risk of vehicle mortality. In the San
Joaquin Valley of California, habitat conversion for agriculture is slowing, but
habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation associated with industrial and
urban development are still occurring at a rapid pace.
In Mexico, Kit Foxes are occasionally sold illegally in the pet market. Kit Foxes are harvested for fur in some states in the USA, but otherwise are not used commercially.
Kit Fox - © Rurik List
For more photos and videos of this and other wild canid species, see:
English: Desert Fox; Spanish: Zorra Del Desierto, Zorro Norteña.