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Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus)

  • Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus)

    Common Name/s: Hoary fox 
    Scientific name: Lycalopex vetulus
    Brazilian common name/s: Raposinha-do-campo

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)

    Body length (cm): 58 (49-72)a Tail (cm):  31 (25-38)a 
    Diet: Omnivorous a,b
    Weight (kg): 3.4 (2.5-4)a Height (cm): 35 (32-37) b 
    Home range (km2): (3.8-4.6)a,b
    Litter size: (4-5) a Gestation (days): 67 a Longevity (years): 
    Social structure: Solitary or breeding pairs
    Activity pattern: Nocturnal

    a (Dalponte & Courtenay 2004), b (Courtenay et al. 2006) 

    Physical description
    The coat is short with a pale grey colouration on the upper body and yellowish-gray underparts, however pelage colours vary across its range. The ears and paws are slightly reddish. The tail has long hair. Is similar in appearance to the Crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), which occurs in the same areas.

    Habitat and Ecology
    This species is only found in Brazil, and occurs in the region of the central Brazilian plateau, occupying open grassland areas of Cerrado and presenting predominantly nocturnal activity patterns (Dalponte 2009).
    The diet includes mainly includes insects (termites, ants, dung-beetles), and also small rodents, birds and fruits (Courtenay et al. 2006; Dalponte 1997; Ferreira-Silva & Lima 2006). During times of high food availability (e.g. termite swarms) they can be seen in groups of 3-5 individuals
    The pups are born in abandoned burrows of armadillos or in dense vegetation.

    Threats and Conservation
    There is no data available on current population densities or abundances. Initial findings suggest that their dietary flexibility and tolerance of agricultural plantations means that habitat loss is not a major threat to this species. However impacts of urban expansion and disease transmission from domestic animals remain unknown.

    Online links
    IUCN Canid Specialist Group -

    The world"s chief body of scientific and practical expertise on the status and conservation of all canid species

    Canid News –

    Free online peer reviewed publications published by the IUCN Canid Specialist Group

    Courtenay, O., Macdonald, D. W., Gillingham, S., Almeida, G., & Dias, R. (2006). First observations on South America"s largely insectivorous canid: the hoary fox (Pseudaloplex vetulus). Journal of Zoology, 268, 45-54.

    Dalponte, J. C. (1997). Diet of the hoary fox, Lycalopex vetulus, in Mato Grosso, central Brazil. Mammalia, 61, 537–546.

    Dalponte, J. C. (2009). Lycalopex vetulus (Carnivora: Canidae). Mammalian Species, 847, 1-7.

    Dalponte, J. C., & Courtenay, O. (2004). Hoary fox Pseudalopex vetulus (Lund, 1842). In C. Sillero-Zubiri, M. Hoffmann & D. W. Macdonald (Eds.), Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (pp. 72-76). Gland / Cambrigde: IUCN.

    Ferreira-Silva, E., & Lima, E. D. (2006). Termite predation by the hoary fox, Pseudalopex vetulus (Lund) (Carnivora, Canidae), in a pasture in Mato Grosso, Central Brazil. Mammalia, 70, 255-260.


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