Fennec Fox picture: The desert dwelling fennec, Vulpes zerda, is one of 12 species of vulpine foxes. It has the largest ears of any fox, in proportion to its body size, using its ears to cool itself and to detect the sounds of predator or prey.
The gray fox is a little smaller than the red fox, and its coat of coarse, pepper-and-salt gray hair is of far less commercial value. It ranges from southern Canada to northern South America and inhabits mostly forests and arid bush country. Gray foxes are the only members of the dog family known to climb trees.
Arctic Fox in Summer and Winter picture: The arctic fox, Alopes lagopus, wears two coats. Its warm-weather coat is gray-brown. During the winter, however, its fur is thick, white camouflage against a landscape of snow and ice, protection both from predators and from the harsh temperatures of tundra latitudes. The fox’s small snout and ears also conserve heat, as do its fur-covered feet, reminiscent of a rabbit’s. Temperatures drop to -70° C (-94° F) before the arctic fox begins to shiver. A small number have blue coloration in colder months, alternating to a rich brown in the summer.
The swift fox is a shy, fast-running, nocturnal animal that lives in the Great Plains of southern Canada and the northern United States. Only about two-thirds the size of the red fox, the swift fox is also called a kit fox. Another small fox, the long-eared kit fox, lives in arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Foxes that live in similarly arid habitats include the cape fox of South Africa, Ruppell’s sand fox of the Sahara Desert, and the fennec—all of which have dense, sand-colored fur to protect them from extreme temperatures. Their long ears are believed useful in dispersing heat.
The arctic fox ranges throughout the Arctic and is often found on ice fields that may be hundreds of kilometers from the mainland. Its coat is white in winter and brown in summer. A small percentage of arctic foxes, especially those in Greenland, are blue, changing from dark bluish-gray in summer to a pale bluish-gray in winter. Arctic foxes, like other species, do not hibernate but remain active, eating whale carrion, scraps left from polar bear kills, and possibly young seals. The ears of arctic foxes are short, heavily furred, and rounded, thus limiting the dispersal of heat.
Scientific classification: Foxes belong to the family Canidae. The red fox is classified as Vulpes vulpes, and the gray fox as Urocyon cinereoargenteus. The swift fox is classified as Vulpes velox, the long-eared kit fox as Vulpes macrotis, and the cape fox as Vulpes chama. Ruppell's sand fox is classified as Vulpes rueppellii, the fennec as Vulpes zerda, and the arctic fox as Alopex lagopus.