Kit foxes favor arid climates, such as desert scrub, chaparral, and grasslands. Good examples of common habitats are sagebrush Artemisia tridentata and saltbrush Atriplex polycarpa. They can be found in urban and agricultural areas, too. They are found at elevations of 400 to 1,900 meters (1,300 to 6,200 ft) above sea level.
Diet. Kit foxes primarily eat rodents and other small animals, including black-tailed hares, desert cottontails, mice, kangaroo rats, squirrels, birds and lizards. Kit foxes do not need to drink water since their prey provides enough liquid for them to survive.
The kit fox is the smallest species of the family Canidae found in North America (except for specially bred domestic dog breeds like teacup Yorkshire.) It has large ears, between 71 and 95 mm (2.8 and 3.7 in), that help the fox lower its body temperature and give it exceptional hearing (much like those of the fennec fox). This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the male being slightly larger. The average species weight is between 1.6 and 2.7 kg (3.5 and 6.0 lb). The body length is 455 to 535 mm (17.9 to 21.1 in). The tail adds another 250–340 mm (9.8–13.4 in) to its length.
It usually has a gray coat, with rusty tones, and a black tip to its tail. Unlike the gray fox, it has no stripe along the length of its tail. Its color ranges from yellowish to gray, and the back is usually darker than the majority of its coat; its belly and inner ears are usually lighter. It has distinct dark patches around the nose.
Male and female kit foxes usually establish monogamous mating pairs during October and November. Polygamous mating relationships have been observed. Pairs can change year to year. They mate from December to February, when they use larger family dens.[clarification needed] Litters are born throughout March and April, usually containing one to seven pups, and average four pups. The gestation is 49 to 55 days. Pups do not leave the den until they are four weeks old. They are weaned after about eight weeks and become independent at five to six months old. They become sexually mature at 10 months. Both parents take part in raising and protecting their young. The average lifespan of a wild kit fox is 5.5 years. In captivity, they can live 12 years. One California study of 144 kit fox pups showed a 74% mortality rate in pups within the first year.
with their most conspicuous characteristic being exceptionally large, closely set ears , which help dissipate body heat in their desert environment . This fox has a slender body, long legs and a very bushy tail, which sticks straight out behind it and is tipped in black . The color of the coat varies with the season, ranging from rusty-tan to buff-grey in the summer, to silvery grey in the winter, with a whitish belly . The hair is dense between the foot pads, giving the fox better traction on the sandy soil of its habitat, whilst also protecting the paws from the heat of the desert sand . The kit fox and the more easterly swift fox (Vulpes velox) were previously considered a single species, but more recent evidence implies the two species are distinct. Both foxes are sometimes called the swift fox, due to their ability to run as fast as 25 mph
Classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Eight subspecies are recognised: V. m. nevadensis, V. m. mutica, V. m. arsipus, V. m. devia, V. m. macrotis, V. m. neomexicana, V. m. tenuirostris, V. m. zinseri. The kit fox is considered Vulnerable in Mexico. In the United States, the San Joaquin kit fox (V. m. mutica) is federally classified as Endangered, and as Threatened by the state of California. In Oregon, the kit fox is classified as Endangered.