FOXES ON KIAWAH
Gray foxes are monogamous and breed during late winter. Dens are typically located in hollow stumps or logs and pups are born
after a 53 day gestation period. Both parents participiate in the rearing of pups and the pups will stay with the family unit
until the following fall when they will disperse to set up their own territories.
The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) population
on Kiawah Island declined dramatically following the widespread canine distemper outbreak in 1996-1997. Sightings of these shy, elusive
animals dwindled to almost zero in the years that followed the outbreak. Surveys and observations indicated that gray fox numbers
rebounded substantially in the four years following the outbreak. Another large-scale distemper outbreak occurred during the
winter of 2007-2008, which has once again reduced gray fox number substantially.
Kiawah Island is home to 2 fox species, the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Red foxes are a new arrival to Kiawah with the first documented sighting occurring in January 2010.
Gray foxes are quite small and typically weigh between 7-10 pounds. As their name suggests, they are gray in color but they do
have a reddish tinge on their sides and back. For this reason, they are often mistaken for a red fox. Gray foxes are very opportunistic
feeders and will eat a variety of plants and animals; including rabbits, rodents, fruits, insects, berries, and acorns. They also
take readily to climbing trees and are the only member of the dog family capable of doing so.
Red foxes are slightly larger than gray foxes and weigh between 8-14 pounds. They can be distinguished from gray foxes
by their typically bright reddish-orange color and their distinctive black feet and white-tipped tails. Red foxes
are predominantly carnivorous and will eat a variety of prey items, including rabbits, rodents, birds, lizards, frogs, and
Red foxes are monogamous and breed during late winter just like the gray fox. Dens are normally dug into soft soil
or hillsides. Both parents help with pup rearing and pups will stay with the family unit until fall.
To date, there has only been 1 red fox sighting on Kiawah. If you see a red fox, let us know
and take a picture if possible
to document the sighting.
Town of Kiawah Island
21 Beachwalker Drive
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
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