Monday, September 30, 2013


The most common member of the Fox family is the Red Fox. They have a wide distribution in the northern hemisphere and were introduced into Australia where they colonized the country in less than one hundred years. From this information, we can deduce that they are very adaptable animals, and are a successful invasive species as well.

But we’re not going to discuss the Red Fox, which is one species of fox, and not endangered. There are, by the way, twenty-five species of fox and a number of sub-species. We’re not going to discuss any of those either. Today we are going to take a look at a very endangered, as a matter of fact, a critically endangered fox called the Island Fox. 

This magnificent canid is found only on the Channel Islands off the California coast. There are eight Channel Islands and the Island Fox lives on six of them. The Island Fox, which evolved from the mainland Gray Fox over 10,000 years ago, is the smallest of all the fox species. They look like the Gray Fox, but they are much smaller in size. The markings on their faces, the black borders between the lips and between the eyes and nose, are specific to the Island Fox. Their coat is a grizzled black and gray and there is a distinct black stripe that runs along the top of their tail. 

Interestingly enough, it is not man who has contributed to the decline of the Island Fox. It is an eagle. In fact the Golden Eagle has become a major player and predator. By 2000 there were only fifteen individuals on San Miguel and Santa Rosa Islands, and less than eighty on Santa Cruz. Shortly thereafter, in 2004, the federal government listed the Island Fox as endangered. The IUCN, which you know, I always quote, has them listed as critically endangered. 

Captive breeding and reintroduction programs, conducted by the Nature Conservancy, and the California government have proved successful. Also, there has been a very successful program to relocate the golden eagles, and reintroduce bald eagles to the islands.

The Island Fox mates for life, and they communicate through sight, sound and smell. They also 'talk' to each other via facial expression and body posture. Like most canids, the Island Fox will mark its territory along their boundaries and pathways.

In my last few posts, we have looked at a number of wolves, and now the Island Fox is on my mind, hence the reason why I am sharing this information with you.

Oh, there is one more reason, and it’s a fun one. My daughter, Katie, asked me the other night what a fox sounds like. The question made me stop to think, because I don’t know if I have ever heard the sound of a fox. Katie decided that it would be absolutely necessary for me to know what they sound like and offered the following video, which I hope you and your children will have fun with. I know I did. 

Thank you for stopping by. If you would like to know more about the Island Fox, I recommend the following two sources:

My sincerest thanks to for their information and pictures, and to you dear Readers, for stopping by to learn about the Island Fox. If it’s your first time visiting, please feel free to share my page with your friends and family, join to follow, or leave a comment.

J.E. Rogers