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The red fox (Vulpus vulpus) in this winter scene is typical of the North American red fox in that its pelt has long, soft hair (the fur of European red foxes is flatter and less silky).

A small member of Family Canidae (which includes dogs and wolves), red foxes have widespread geographic distribution covering much of the northern hemisphere from the Arctic circle throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. There are 12 known subspecies which together inhabit almost all of North America with the exception of deserts, semiarid grasslands, SE pine forests and the Pacific conifer zone.

This animal is very likely V. mocroura given the location of the photograph (Yellowstone National Park near the border between Wyoming and Montana).

Red foxes are opportunistic feeders. They will eat wild berries and other fruits, frogs, birds, rodents, and rabbits, shifting their food choices depending upon seasonal availability. Their range and habits are linked somewhat to the sources of available food but generally these animals feed at dawn and dusk while ranging over a 2 square mile area.

William E McComas (who has contributed numerous ABT covers) captured the photograph with a Nikon D50 camera and 400mm zoom lens with VR image stabilizing technology exposed at approximately 8 mega pixels. McComas is the Parks Family Professor of Science Education Director of the Project to Advance Science Education (PASE) at the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions (mccomas@uark.edu).
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Publication:The American Biology Teacher
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:242
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