Swift fox den video

July 15, 2019
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Sheridan - South Gillette Game Warden Levi Wood captured video of a swift fox den in his district this spring.

The swift fox is one of three fox species found in Wyoming, including the red fox and the gray fox found in the Black Hills. It is Wyoming's (and North America's) smallest canine, weighing in at a whopping five to six pounds - smaller than many domestic house cats!

Throughout the majority of their range, swift fox are tied to arid grassland and mixed shrub-grassland habitats. In Wyoming, this species is most common in the Great Plains habitats of the eastern part of the state. In recent years, swift fox observations have increased throughout the western part of the state, where habitat is more characteristic of shrub-grasslands. This 'non-traditional' habitat has not been considered within the historic range of swift fox in Wyoming, and this increase in observations may be indicative of an expanding population.  

Wyoming led the work to reintroduce this species to Alberta from 1994 to 1996 (with some overflow into northeastern Montana) following extirpation. Numerous swift foxes were live-trapped in Laramie County and shipped to southern Alberta for this successful reintroduction effort. Swift fox were also introduced from Wyoming to South Dakota from 2004 to 2006 and in 2009.

Swift fox, like other wild canids, will eat "anything that doesn't eat them first." Their diet consists primarily of rodents, rabbits, insects, ground nesting birds, fruits, and some herbaceous matter. Carrion is consumed when available.

Swift fox are preyed upon or simply killed by many predators, including coyotes, red fox, golden eagles, domestic dogs, badgers and bobcats.

Swift fox give birth to four or five pups in March or April. The pups are full-grown in four to five months and disperse from the den in September or October.  This fox typically lives for four to six years in the wild.

Game and Fish nongame biologists appreciate notification of any observations of swift fox in the western half of the state where they seem to be expanding, as well as observations of dens and/or pups in any part of the state. Any photos or video and/or a detailed description of the location can be emailed to wgf-rareanimal@wyo.gov



- WGFD -

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