Gray fox, a lonely hunter

The Yucatan Peninsula counts among its biodiversity with the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), a species of carnivorous mammal of the Canidae family distributed throughout the American continent, from southern Canada to Venezuela.

This species is known for being a solitary hunter and has the ability to inhabit and adapt in different ecosystems, from tropical to temperate, and has climbing habits.

Photo: Mjpapay

It feeds on small vertebrates, and among its usual prey are the Florida rabbit, shrews, hares, bush rabbits, rats, mice, birds, insects and invertebrates such as beetles, moths, lobsters, grasshoppers, butterflies and crickets. When available, include carrion in their diet. It also consumes fruits and seeds.

It is a carnivore of the canid family, that is, from the same family as dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc. It is quite common in the Yucatan peninsula, which has jungle areas, but it is very adaptable and is easily found in areas of secondary vegetation or agricultural areas.

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Photo: Public Domain

Being carnivorous – since its diet consists mainly of the animals it hunts – it has an important value in agricultural areas because it helps regulate the populations of mice and rats, among other pests that attack crops.

As a predator, it plays a very important role in the food chain, to maintain animal populations in general, in addition to representing an ecological balance.

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Photo: Cody Stricker

Fortunately, it is not on the list of endangered species and the area allows them to have a significant number of specimens.

Its size is similar to that of the coyote, but it would be difficult to confuse these animals with each other, since the gray fox has a shorter and more acute snout, more developed ears and proportionally shorter legs. The tail is long and thick, very bushy.

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Photo: @ca.ma.leon

The fur is dark gray or silver on the back, turning reddish on the flanks and legs, and white on the belly. A band of black hair crosses the body from the nape to the tip of the tail, following the entire back of the animal. The cheeks and throat are white, and there are two fine stripes of black hair that start from the eyes towards the back.

In their reproductive activity, gray foxes are monogamous; They mate at the beginning of spring, and after two months of gestation, the females give birth to a variable number of offspring that mature before one year of age. They can live an average of eight years, a common age of life in several species of foxes. There is no real sexual dimorphism between males and females and they only differ by their smaller size.

Urocyon cinereoargenteus / GRAY FOX

Weight: 3.8kg (adult)

Length: 60cm (adult)

Habitat: Jungle areas, but very adaptable it is very adaptable and is easily found among areas of secondary vegetation or agricultural areas.

Food: Rabbits, shrews, hares, bush rabbits, rats, mice, birds, insects, invertebrates and fruits.

Main threat: Real estate development and poaching.

Like every Friday The Mayan Journey invites you to discover the endemic fauna of the Mexican southeast. Here we share the collection we have so far. Enjoy it!

Bats, nocturnal pollinators

Coatí, at risk due to proximity to urban areas

The Toh bird, real bird indicator of the health of the jungle and provider of environmental services

Dolphins of the Laguna de Terminos, symbol of Isla del Carmen

The flamingo, symbol of Yucatan, threatened by climate change

Emerald hummingbird, the jewel of Cozumel

Manatee, legends and realities

Jungles of the peninsula, dream home for monkeys

Loggerhead turtle, icon of the Mexican Caribbean

Neither death nor bad omen: owls contribute to the well-being of the Yucatecan countryside

Iguanas or garrobos, species whose protection increases among the population

Melipona bee, a very dedicated Mayan worker

‘Chel’, the Yucatecan bird that amazes with its plumage and blue ‘cape’

The majestic flight of the pelicans, daily image of the ‘Carmen’ boardwalk

The Yucatecan parrot, peninsular pride threatened by illegal trafficking

Tapir, the ”gardener of the jungle”

Nauyaca Yucatecan pig nose; species with special protection

Toucans, nature’s engineering of excellence

The raccoon, with a reputation for being smart and mischievous

Microorganisms from the caves of the peninsula, essential in the ecological balance

Mayan octopus, exclusive to the Yucatan peninsula with high ecological and commercial value

Largest aquatic bird in America, it lives in the Laguna de Terminos

Xunán kab, Mayan bee whose honey has healing properties

Peccary, an endangered forest dweller

Toloque coronado, auxiliary ‘dinosaur’ in insect pest control

Spiders spread their web on the peninsula

Black-throated hummingbird, lover of the peninsular jungle

Cozumel raccoon fights for survival

Puma, feline threatened by real estate development

Kemp’s ridley turtle, could reach the peninsula due to change in sea temperature

Bull shark, the boss of the Caribbean

Collared Dwarf Gecko, a native lizard of the peninsula that needs to be made visible

Sea pan, a blue-blooded animal

Cojolite, a great unknown in the Mayan jungle

The ‘Huech’, appreciated delicacy for the communities of the Yucatan Peninsula

Boa constrictor, scares many but is not poisonous

Scaly lizard, a little unknown

Crocodiles from Laguna de Terminos, symbol of Isla del Carmen

To the rescue of the Mexican hairless pig, originally from Yucatan

The blue crab: a fight for survival

The White Lady, endemic fish of Yucatan threatened by pollution

Pejelagarto, prehistoric species that is preserved to this day

Ruby throated hummingbird, hungry traveler arriving in the Yucatan Peninsula

Edition: Ana Ordaz

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Gray fox, a lonely hunter


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