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Blanford’s Fox: Yet Another Species

blanfords fox

Little is known about Blanford’s Fox (vulpes cana), a mini-fox that lives in the mountainous deserts and steep, rocky slopes of the United Arab Emirates, parts of Iran, and Afghanistan. The secretive, rarely-seen animal was recently photographed by a motion-sensitive camera—the first photo of this fox in its natural, mountain habitat in the UAE.

Blanford’s fox seems to be a textbook example of a creature shaped over time by natural selection. Weighing between 0.8 to 1.5kg, they are characterized by their diminutive size and spectacular ears. Said to be the world’s second smallest fox, those magnificent ears play an important role in their ability to withstand the heat of the area by providing a large area from which body heat is radiated, thus cooling the little fellows.

The species are excellent tree-climbers, having sharp, curved claws and hairless pads for traction. Their long, bushy tails serve as a counterbalance when negotiating tree limbs. Their diet consists of insects, small mammals, and fruit, the high water content of which enables the fox to survive for days at a time without water.

Blanford’s Foxes are monogamous, taking only one partner during their lifetime. The vixen gives birth to one to three cubs, usually in March or April.
Click for more details in Naser Al Wasmi’s article in The National (UAE).

Posted March 30, 2015