I’ve heard about the Swift fox making a return to certain areas of North America on the Meat Eater podcast hosted by well know outdoor personality Steve Rinella (host of Meat Eater tv show and podcast). I didn’t know much about the species at all, when I did some reading I found them to be pretty cool little creatures.
The Swift fox is a vulpes genus and a member of the canid family. They are a true fox and a biological descendant of wolves. The Swift fox is the smallest member of the canid family as they are no larger than a small lap dog or house cat, they stand only 12″ tall and weigh up to 5-7 pounds. Light orange & tan in color helps them blend into their desert or grassland prairie habitat. Distinguishable from other foxes by their small body size and their abnormaly large ears. They are extremely quick being able to run up to 60km/h.
They’re omnivores like their relative other fox species. They’ll eat basically anything they can find in there region that they’re able to kill; Rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, insects and bugs. They’ll also scavenge larger predators leftover kills such as dead deer. Not only do they den but they are a fairly nocturnal species making it even more difficult to see one in the wild.
Found throughout west central USA ranging as far north as Montana down to Texas, including Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska & Wyoming. They previously lived in the Canadian prairies from Manitoba west to Alberta.
Most people believe that in the 1930s they became extinct in Canada due to predator control poisons and mass agricultural expansion. In the 1970s&80s reintroduction programs were started to help reintroduce the species to their native habitat. They began with small captive populations which were eventually released into the wild. Recently last August 2018 the Nature Conservancy of Canada discovered a den in southern Alberta which is believed to be offspring of the reintroduced foxes from the 1980s. There is estimated to be roughly 100 wild swift foxes living in southern Alberta now. Lets hope the Swift fox continues to make progress growing and returning to its once large natural habitat.
Heres a link to the news story from August 2018