Sacramento Fish & Wildlife OfficeServing the people, conserving the fish, wildlife, and plants of California
Kids' Species Information
San Joaquin Kit Fox: Vulpes macrotis mutica
Endangered. This means that the species is in danger of dying out. We are working hard to prevent this.
San Joaquin kit foxes are the smallest foxes in North America. They are about 51 cm long. (About 20 inches) This doesn't count their tails. They weigh a little over 2 kg. (About 5 pounds) They have long legs and large ears. Their coats range from tan to buffy gray in the summer. This changes to silvery gray in the winter.
Small mammals such as mice, kangaroo rats, squirrels and rabbits. Ground-nesting birds. Insects.
San Joaquin scrub and grasslands. See photo.
Kit foxes can breed when one year old. Adult pairs stay together all year.In the fall, females begin to clean and enlarge their pupping dens. The foxes mate between December and March.
Litters of two to six pups are born in February or March. Pups emerge from the den after about a month.
Red foxes, coyotes, domestic dogs, bobcats and large raptors.
Most San Joquin kit foxes live on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Loss of habitat to farming and development. By 1979, only about 6.7% of the San Joaquin Valley's original wildlands south of Stanislaus County remained untilled and undeveloped.
Predation and competition from larger species such as the nonnative red fox.
Conover, A. August 2001. The little foxes. Smithsonian Magazine. 32(5):42.
San Joaquin Kit Fox (1 MB PDF) from the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation. This publication is designed to help farmers avoid kit foxes. But it has lots of pictures and information.
Spiegel, L., R. Stafford, & C. Uptain. San Joaquin Kit Fox. In Life on the edge: a guide to California's endangered natural resources, edited by Carl Thelander. BioSystem Books. Pp. 86-89.
Visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Kid's Corner to learn more about endangered species.
Photo credits: Carley Sweet, FWS.
Words to Learn
Biologists call kit foxes Vulpes macrotis. Scientific names are in Latin or Greek.
The San Joaquin kit fox is a subspecies. So biologists add mutica. This makes the full name Vulpes macrotis mutica.
San Joaquin kit foxes are in the Canidae family, which includes dogs, wolves and foxes.
Please read our children's privacy statement.
Amphibians & Reptiles
- Alameda Whipsnake
- California Tiger Salamander
- Giant Garter Snake
- California red-legged frog
- San Francisco
- California Brown Pelican
- California Clapper Rail
- California Condor
- California Least Tern
- Least Bell's Vireo
- Bay Checkerspot Butterfly
- California Freshwater Shrimp
- Mission Blue Butterfly
- Valley Elderberry
- Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp
8th Graders and older
- See also our regular species accounts.
- We welcome feedback from kids, parents and teachers.
- National Homework Help Site
Follow Us Online
Last updated: November 29, 2017