Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Randall Thacker
Photo Copyright Randall Thacker

The kit fox, Vulpes macrotis, is native to much of the western United States and northern Mexico. Although the species is not overly abundant in Utah, it does occur in the western, east-central, and southeastern areas of the state. There is some current debate as to whether or not the kit fox and the swift fox are conspecific (members of the same species). Although recent genetic tests suggest that the kit fox and the swift fox are not conspecific, some mammalogists still classify the two as a single species.

The kit fox opportunistically eats small mammals (primarily rabbits and hares), small birds, invertebrates, and plant matter. The species is primarily nocturnal, but individuals may be found outside of their dens during the day. The kit fox mates in late winter, with a litter of four to seven pups being born about two months later. Young first leave the den about one month after birth, in late spring or early summer. The species most often occurs in open prairie, plains, and desert habitats. The kit fox can be distinguished from other Utah foxes because it has a black tip on its tail (red fox tails are tipped in white) and it lacks a median black stripe along the length of the tail (as is found on the common gray fox).


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.