Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Northern Kit Fox

Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 50.

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Forty percent of the total length of the northern kit fox (Vulpes macrotis nevadensis) is tail. The very large ears are a significant amount of the rest ("the better to hear you with, my dear"). It is a very small canid, weighing in at only 4 to 6 pounds.

The tail has a black tip, the back of the animal is gray, and the legs are yellowish.

Kit fox are found in deep southeast Oregon, southwest Idaho, and northern Nevada, in particular in portions of the proposed Steens Mountain, Sheepshead Mountains, Owyhee, Trout Creek Mountains, Alvord, Oregon Grasslands and Pueblo Mountains Wildernesses. The species favors flat habitats (old lakebeds) covered with salt desert scrub species, such as black greasewood.

Kit fox live year-round in rather elaborate mazes of dens, often with two to seven openings, and eat small rodents. Species tend to do best in the heart of their range, and the kit fox's range barely extends into Oregon. We therefore have to be extra careful to ensure that the species stays here. It is adversely affected by trapping programs targeted at coyotes.