Discover South American Foxes

South American foxes of the genus Lycalopex, locally called raposa or zorro, are not actually true foxes. They exhibit convergent evolution with foxes, meaning that they share appearance and behavior but not a recent common ancestor. There are six South American foxes, let’s meet them!

Culpeo fox

Adult Culpeo Fox
Culpeo Fox

 

The culpeo fox can be found on the western side of the Andes in forests. They resemble the red fox, but with lighter tawny fur. Some subspecies have dark grey or red fur. They hunt some introduced species, such as European hares and beavers, and are therefore considered beneficial by the humans who live nearby.

 

 

 

Darwin’s fox

There are two distinct but small populations of Darwin’s fox, on Chiloe Island and nearby in Chile. They have dark fur and live a crepuscular lifestyle, being active at dawn and dusk. Darwin’s fox lives in unaltered forests and are endangered due to habitat destruction.

 

Hoary fox

Adult Hoary Fox
Hoary Fox

 

Found in Brazil, the hoary fox is also called the “little meadow fox” in Portuguese. Their fur is grey and cream, with a dark stripe on either their tail or all the way to their neck. Hoary foxes feed mostly on invertebrates as their teeth are too weak to allow them to feed on tougher prey.

 

 

Pampas fox

The Pampas fox, naturally, can be found in open pampas habitats, as well as some forests or wetlands in Southeastern South America. They have coarse gray fur and a dark stripe along their backs and appear similar to a coyote. Pampas foxes are omnivorous, eating fruit as well as birds, rodents, and hares.

 

Sechuran fox

Adult Sechuran Fox
Sechuran Fox

 

The Sechuran fox, also called the Peruvian desert fox, has a small range in the Peruvian Sechura desert. They have dark gray fur with red markings on their ears and around their eyes. They are opportunistic feeders, eating seed pods and fruit sometimes exclusively. They also prey on rodents, birds’ eggs, and invertebrates.

 

 

 

South American gray fox

The South American gray fox has a range throughout much of the Andes down to Tierra del Fuego. They have a dark gray and red coat with a pale chest and stomach. They are in competition in their habitat with the culpeo fox, which is larger. They prey on rodents and reptiles and eat fruit, but in urban areas, they also have adapted to eat carrion.

 

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Read more about Arctic foxes here if you enjoyed today’s blog post!

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