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Corsac Fox[1]
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Vulpes
Species: V. corsac
Binomial name
Vulpes corsac
(Linnaeus, 1768)

The Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac), also known as the Steppe Fox, is a medium sized Asiatic fox species spread throughout the central steppes of Asia. It is sometimes referred to as the Tibetan Fox (because it lives in the arid environments north and west of the Tibetan Plateau), or simply as the Sand Fox, but this terminology is confusing because the Tibetan Sand Fox (Vulpes ferrilata), which lives in the high parts of the Tibetan Plateau, is often called the "Sand Fox" or "Tibetan Fox" as well. Rüppell's Fox (Vulpes rueppellii) is also known as the "Sand Fox".

It is very social and lives in "corsac cities" where animals have several dens with connected holes. It prefers some steppe and semi-desert in mountainous areas. It is mainly grey-reddish with silver celadon areas on their coat. The Corsac Fox is threatened by hunting for the fur trade.

Contents

Range and habitat

This fox lives in the steppes and semi-desert of central and northeast Asia.[2] It is found in large areas of central Asia including northern Afghanistan, northeast China, Kashmir, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.[1][2]

Physical appearance

The fox is gray to gray-red in colour with silver undertones. It has white under the chin. The length of head and body is 50–60 cm, and the tail length 22–35 cm. Their back is intensively hoary-reddish. For a fox, it has small teeth and a wide skull. The tip of the tail is black. The Corsac Fox has hooked claws and is able to climb trees.

Diet

Corsac fox photo taken in Berlin Zoological Garden.

They are omnivores, eating small animals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants. They sometimes feed on carrion and rodents.

Reproduction and life cycle

The mating season is around January with a gestation period of eight weeks. Litter size is between two and six young. This fox lives three to twelve years. They reach sexual maturity within 9–10 months and reproduce in the second year of life.

Behavior

The Corsac Fox is more social than other foxes. It will share burrows and form hunting packs. It lives in small groups, and creates families. The Corsac Fox prefers a nomadic lifestyle and spends some seasons walking through the steppes. It can not walk on snow and often larger snow-drifts are the cause of death for many foxes. It drinks little water. It often buries its prey, such as rodents, in caches.

Similar species

The Corsac Fox is the same size or slightly smaller than the Red Fox, with larger ears, shorter muzzle, and longer limbs. It is related to the Swift Fox and the Arctic Fox, which are also similar species. However, the closest related species to Corsac Fox is probably the Tibetan Sand Fox, famous for its unusual face and "horned ears".

Subspecies

There are two subspecies of this fox:[1]

  • Vulpes corsac corsac
  • Vulpes corsac kalmykorum

Threats

Major threats posed to the Corsac Fox are through illegal hunts. The population has been reduced in areas where it has been heavily killed for fur.

References

  1. ^ a b c Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000869.  
  2. ^ a b c Poyarkov, A. & Ovsyanikov, N. (2008). Vulpes corsac. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 2008-04-25. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern

External links

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Simple English


The Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac), also known as the Steppe Fox, is a medium-sized Asiatic fox species. It is spread throughout the central steppes of Asia. It is very social and lives in "corsac cities" where animals have several dens with connected holes. It prefers some steppe and semi-desert in mountainous areas. It is mainly grey-reddish with silver celadon areas on their coat. The Corsac Fox is threatened by hunting for the fur trade.

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