Island Gray Fox

Conservation

Scientific Classification

OrderCarnivora
FamilyCanidae
GenusUrocyon
Binomial nameUrocyon littorals

Range Map

Range of species in blue

Description


The Island gray fox can be found on the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast.  They can be found on the six largest Channel Islands.

The Island gray fox can be found on Santa Cataline, San Clemente, San Miguel, San Nicholas, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands.

The Island gray fox is smaller than the regular gray fox and is the smallest species of fox in North America.  They average between 59 to 79 cm long, which includes a tail length up to 29 cm.  Their height is just 15 cm.

Island gray foxes live solitary, mostly nocturnal lives.  They can also be seen during the day.  They are good tree climbers.  

Island gray foxes will leave urine and feces at boundaries around their territories to mark their territories from other gray foxes.  

They feed mainly on fruits and insects, living on an omnivorous diet.  They will also feed on birds and deer mice, reptiles, snails and human garbage.   They will eat prickly pear cactus, sea-figs, manzanita and berries.

The IUCN lists all subspecies of island gray Fox as near threatened.  By 2000, there was a population of just 14 Island gray foxes on Santa Rosa, down from 1,500 in 1994.  Threats to their population come from golden eagles, which can be four times their size. 

The United States Navy has also affected their population by trapping and euthanizing foxes, although since 2000 they have employed different strategies.

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