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CDOW Website NDIS Home

Wildlife Swift Fox Page


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This copyrighted photograph is the sole proprietorship of the photographer.  Unauthorized use is a violation of federal copyright laws.
Photo by: Bruce Gill
 Swift Fox
 Vulpes velox

Habitat: The swift fox is an animal of grasslands. It occupies shortgrass and midgrass prairies over most of the Great Plains, including eastern Colorado. In northeastern Colorado, the swift fox appears to be most numerous in areas with relatively flat to gently rolling topography (M. Cameron 1984, Loy 1981). However, habitat occupied on the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado is more diverse (Rongstad et al. 1989).

Diet: Swift foxes are almost entirely carnivorous, preying on a variety of small rodents, lagomorphs, birds, and similar quarry (Cutter 1958b). Studies over much of their range indicate that jackrabbits compose the bulk of the diet, supplemented by ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and many species of ground-nesting birds.

Description: The swift fox is small and slender. The dorsal pelage ranges from yellowish to buffy gray, with the underfur tan and interspersed with multicolored guard hairs so that the overall dorsal color is fairly dark. The ventral pelage ranges from white to yellow. Conspicuous black marks are present on either side of the snout, and the tail is always tipped with black. The black facial marks clearly separate the species from young coyotes. Measurements are: total length 700-880 mm; length of tail 240-350 mm; length of hindfoot 113-135 mm; length of ear 56-75 mm; weight 1.8-3.0 kg.

Range in Colorado: It appears that the density of swift foxes in certain areas on the eastern plains of Colorado is high (Cameron 1984, Covell and Rongstad 1990, Loy 1981, Rongstad et al. 1989).


Status: CDOW WRIS Species, State Special Concern


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Swift Fox NDIS Maps
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Swift Fox Specific Links
  GAP Habitat Map


General Wildlife Links
  Colorado Audubon
  Colorado Birding Society
  Colorado Field Ornithologist's
  Rocky Mnt. Bird Observatory
  TNC Migratory Bird Program