The fox with an unusual black-brown color is a variety of the common fox. This unusual predator has become an important object of fishing. Silver fox is a source of very warm, beautiful and relatively affordable fur. The fur of this animal is used to make fur coats, hats, jackets and other types of clothing. In addition to the obvious benefits for humans, the silver fox is an interesting animal with unusual habits and lifestyle. It’s worth learning more about!
Species origin and description
The curious muzzle of a fox can often be seen in children’s books, magazines, and on various posters. There are many legends about this animal, fairy tales and stories are composed about it. A striking representative of ordinary foxes is the silver fox. The black-brown fox has rather large dimensions, it can reach ninety centimeters in length.
Video: Silver fox
The homeland of the silver fox is the northern regions of the USA, Canada. It was there that this species began its active development and distribution. However, today a very small percentage of the population of these animals lives in the wild. Most of them are kept in captivity, bred for high quality fur.
Interesting fact: It is no secret that foxes are called the most cunning animal. Where did it come from? It’s all about the behavior of the animal. Foxes, including silver foxes, in the event of a chase or danger, always carefully obscure their tracks. They can hide several times to mislead the opponent. Such a cunning move allows foxes to successfully escape from their enemies.
Black-brown foxes have been actively bred on farms since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Breeders artificially bred new varieties of silver fox. As a result of selection, eleven varieties have already appeared: pearl, biryulino, burgundy, arctic marble, platinum, colicott, snow, pushkin, silver-black.
Appearance and features
The black-brown fox is the “queen” among various fur animals. Its main external feature is beautiful fur. It is quite highly valued in the market, does not lose its relevance in the fashion world. The classic representative of the silver fox has a black coat color. But most often there are animals that have a grayish base of fur, a white middle. The villi are long enough, the fur is very fluffy, warm.
Like other members of the family, the silver fox has a molting period. It usually starts at the end of the winter season and ends in July. During this time, the predator’s fur becomes very thin, becoming much shorter. However, immediately after molting, the pile begins to grow, acquires a high density, good density. This makes it possible for foxes to survive severe frosts without difficulty.
Other external characteristics of the animal are almost identical to those of all representatives of ordinary foxes:
- The average body length is seventy-five centimeters, weight is about ten kilograms;
- Fluffy, voluminous tail. This is the “calling card” of all chanterelles. With the help of the tail, the animal hides from frost. The tail can grow up to sixty centimeters long;
- Elongated muzzle, thin paws, sharp ears. The ears are always of a characteristic triangular shape, decorated with a sharp tip;
- Excellent eyesight. Animals see well even late at night;
- Well-developed sense of smell, touch. Foxes use these senses when hunting their prey.
Where does the silver fox live?
As already mentioned, the initial natural range of this animal was Canada and North America. It was there that the silver fox was first encountered by man. In the nineteenth century, black foxes began to explore the rocky regions of Pennsylvania, the Madeleine, and even New York. On the territory of the natural range, these foxes were represented by large populations. But over time, the animal was caught, killed, and today the silver fox is considered an endangered species.
For life and reproduction in the wild, foxes choose quite secluded places for themselves. They evaluate the area, first of all, by the presence of prey. They prefer to settle in areas with a temperate climate, close to a water source, forest or rocky mountains.
Interesting fact: The largest number of silver fox living in the wild is recorded in Canada. At the moment, this species makes up more than eight percent of the population of the common fox family in the state.
Hunting silver fox in the wild is strictly prohibited. For fishing, these animals are now bred on special zoo farms. Such farms are located in almost every major state, because black-brown fox fur is in great demand on the market. The farms have all the conditions for breeding animals.
What does the silver fox eat?
The diet of silver fox is varied. It depends on the conditions in which the fox is kept. If we are talking about animals living in freedom, then they are typical representatives of predators. Their main diet is made up of small rodents. Vole mice are mainly eaten. Much less often, black-brown foxes can afford to eat a hare or a bird. Hunting these animals takes them much more time and effort. At the same time, the animal does not disdain either bird eggs or small newborn hares.
Interesting fact: Foxes are cunning, skillful and are excellent hunters. They can pursue the intended victim for several hours. Such qualities as natural endurance, resourcefulness, perseverance rarely leave the silver fox hungry.
If the fox does not find small rodents or birds nearby, then it can dine on insects. Silver fox prefers to eat large beetles, larvae. In this case, live insects are not always used. A silver fox can also eat a dead beetle. Occasionally, some plant foods are included in the diet of a predator. The black-brown fox can eat berries, roots, fruits, fruits.
When kept in captivity, the diet of silver fox differs significantly. On zoo farms, foxes are fed with specialized food. The feed is rich in essential vitamins, microelements, which are important for growing beautiful fur. Some breeders include fresh meat of animals, birds, various vegetables in their daily diet.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The silver fox is a lone animal. These foxes prefer to live separately. They pair up only during the mating season. Even after birth, they are deprived of their upbringing, most often one female is engaged in feeding. For life, these predators choose places with a rich population of small rodents. Burrows are built on slopes, small mounds. They can occupy abandoned burrows of other animals, if they are of a suitable size.
Fox burrows usually have several entrances and exits. They represent a whole system of tunnels leading to the nest. The animal carefully disguises its exits; it is not so easy to find their holes. Black-brown foxes are not strongly attached to one place of residence. They can change their home if there is no food in the previous territory. Acute attachment to the habitat is manifested only during the period of feeding foxes.
During the day, foxes prefer to spend their time in hiding, only occasionally appearing on the street. Predators are most active at night. It is at night that all their senses are aggravated, their eyes see much better. During the day, the fox may not distinguish colors. Foxes are quite calm, unhurried, friendly. They don’t get into fights unnecessarily. In case of danger, these animals prefer to flee. They carefully obfuscate the tracks leading to their own shelter.
Social structure and reproduction
Foxes breed once a year. The mating season lasts from January to March. During this time, foxes form monogamous pairs. Often, small fights occur for females in male foxes. After fertilization, foxes return to their usual solitary lifestyle. Females carry their babies for a short time – about two months.
During one pregnancy, the female silver fox bears at least four puppies. Under ideal conditions, the number of offspring can reach thirteen individuals. Puppies are born blind and deaf. Their auricles are closed until a certain time. Only after two weeks have passed, the cubs begin to distinguish objects, hear well.
All worries about the offspring usually fall on the shoulders of the mother. The father rarely takes an active part in this. The female gets food, the male can protect the territory. In case of danger, adults quickly transfer fox cubs to the shelter. The development of babies is fast. They quickly learn to hunt, move around. At the age of six months, most puppies leave the parental home, begin to lead an independent lifestyle.
Interesting fact: Silver foxes often become pets. They are kept in homes as an alternative to a cat or dog. Such pets must be neutered and sterilized. During the mating season, they can behave extremely aggressively.
Black-brown foxes breed well in captivity. They are specially bred by breeders in order to obtain beautiful, warm fur. The process of breeding, caring for puppies on a farm is not much different.
Silver fox natural enemies
Silver fox is not an easy prey. Like all foxes, the beast knows how to confuse tracks, moves quickly, is quite hardy and can even climb trees.
Silver fox’s natural enemies include:
- People. It was the man who led to the fact that the silver fox today is on the verge of extinction. Hunters shot the animals in large numbers for their fur. Also, some foxes were shot because of the threat of the formation of a focus of rabies. It is wild foxes that are the main carriers of this deadly disease;
- Wild predators. In captivity, these animals die in large numbers from the paws of predators. They are often attacked by wolves, jackals, stray dogs, large lynxes, bears. Any predator larger than the silver fox can be considered its natural enemy;
- Ferrets, stoats. These small animals can also cause the death of foxes;
- Birds of prey. Silver foxes often die at a young age. Little foxes can go far from their parents, where they are overtaken by large predators. Eagles, hawks, falcons, eagles attack fox cubs.
Interesting fact: Today it is forbidden to hunt silver fox, and there is no need. The animal is bred in large quantities on special farms. It’s just that exotic lovers can buy a silver fox puppy for home maintenance. These animals are easily tamed.
Population and species status
The silver fox is a predatory animal with a unique color. Her fur is of great value. Among fur-bearing animals, foxes of this color are extremely in demand. Since ancient times, their fur has been used to make various fur clothes: collars, cuffs, fur coats, jackets, vests. It is often used in conjunction with stones to decorate bags and shoes. The fur of the black-brown fox is resistant to physical wear. According to this parameter, it ranks fourth in the world among the fur of other animals.
It was fur that became the main reason for the rapid decline in the population of animals in their natural habitat. The silver fox population was almost completely exterminated. Hunters killed animals mainly in autumn and winter, when the fur of the animal acquired maximum density. Also, a huge part of the animals was exterminated due to the formation of large foci of rabies. Before the advent of the oral vaccine, this problem was solved only by killing animals. Now the need for this has completely disappeared.
Despite the fact that mass hunting of silver foxes has long ceased, the natural population of animals has not recovered even today. Silver foxes are considered an endangered species, they are listed in the Red Book and are protected by law throughout the world.
Protection of silver foxes
Today silver fox is – an animal that is listed in the Red Book. It is classified as a conservation mammal, the status of a variety of this fox causes serious concern. There are very few silver foxes left in the wild.
This is due to a variety of factors:
- Rare shots. Despite the ban, such cases take place even in our time;
- Bad ecology, lack of food. In natural habitats, animals do not have enough food, soil and water are polluted all over the planet;
- Attack of natural enemies, diseases. Silver foxes become victims of large predators, even foxes die from the paws of birds. Also, some animals die from certain diseases.
Also, the silver fox population is rapidly declining due to the relatively low survival rate of the animal in the wild. Free foxes live no more than three years. The remains of the silver fox population are still preserved in the United States and Canada. It is extremely rare that representatives of this species can be found in Russia.
To stop the extinction and preserve the silver fox species, many states provide for fines and other punishments for killing these animals. Also, they began to be actively bred and protected in the territories of various reserves, parks located around the world.
The silver fox is a beautiful, fluffy animal with valuable fur. This species of fox is endangered, its population in its natural habitat is rapidly declining every year. Only their active breeding on various zoo farms saves from the complete disappearance of these animals.
The silver fox is a very smart, cunning, interesting predator. Today, absolutely everyone can become the owner of such an animal. Silver fox puppies are sold in specialized stores, are easily tamed and kept at home.