Crab eating fox sniffing for food, Pantanal, Brazil

Crab eating fox sniffing for food, Pantanal, Brazil

Crab eating fox sniffing for food, Pantanal, Brazil

The Crab-eating fox tends to have a similar size and shape to most foxes. It is mainly grayish-brown, with red areas on the legs and face, and on its long, bushy, black-tipped tail and ears. Its legs are short and strong and its coat is thick and short. Coloration varies from brown to pale or dark gray, to yellowish. Along the back legs there is a black streak, with a black stripe on the spine. On the muzzle, ears and paws the fur is more reddish. The ear tips, tail and legs are black and the ears are round and wide. The torso is rather narrow. The Crab-eating fox lives in central South America. It ranges from Colombia and Venezuela as far as Uruguay, Paraguay, and Northern Argentina. Its habitat mostly includes savannahs and woodlands; however, it is known to live in a range of other areas including edge and forested areas. It may prefer higher areas during the rainy season, moving to lowlands in the dry season.

The Crab-eating fox is mainly nocturnal and is also active during dusk, spending the day in a den dug by other animals. These foxes travel together in pairs but hunt as individuals. Their territory ranges from 0.6 to 0.9 km2. In the dry season, these foxes have a tendency towards being more territorial than in the wet season, though overlap of territories often occurs. Hideouts and dens are often in thick grass and bushes, and each den usually has many entrance holes. Despite being capable diggers, the foxes prefer to take over the burrows of other animals. Hunting methods differ according to the type of prey. They make several characteristic sounds, including barking, howling and whining, when pairs of foxes lose contact. The Crab-eating fox is an omnivore, mainly feeding on crabs, fish, reptiles, rodents, birds, insects, eggs and fruit. The main threat to these animals is from pathogenic infection from dogs, as foxes forage in human refuse dumps alongside unvaccinated domestic dogs at park boundaries in Brazil’s Serra da Canastra National Park. This habitat of the crab-eating fox is gradually shrinking as a result of human activity, including agriculture, as well as the encroachment of feral dogs on its territory. Curently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.

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