Blanford’s fox are the second smallest species of fox in the world. These foxes are found in parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. The species was first described by in 1877 by William Thomas Blanford, an English naturalist.
The scientific name for Blanford’s fox is Vulpes cana. The species is known by many other names such as the Black Fox, Hoary Fox, Afghan Fox, Royal Fox, Baluchistan Fox, Dog Fox , Cliff Fox, King Fox and Steppe Fox.
Blanford’s Foxes prefer areas with semi-arid climate and are mainly found in steppes and rocky areas such as mountains, hills and canyons. They like to stay at medium altitudes, not too high and not too low. They’re usually found at altitudes below 2000m but have been seen in mountains at heights of 3000m.
These foxes have hair-less and cat-like paws with sharp semi-retractile claws that gives them the ability to jump and climb over cliffs and rocks as high as 3m. Their long hairy tails give them a counter-balancing effect when climbing or moving over rocky and narrow ledges.
Their coat is furry and mostly grey/brown. The lower regions of the body are white. They have long bushy tails and big ears, which help them dissipate heat and control body temperature.
Blanford’s Foxes are the second smallest among all foxes. The only smaller species is the Fennec Fox. Both species are close relatives and have a very similar DNA structure.
These foxes have a total length of about 70-90cm including the head, body and tail. They weigh around 0.8-3kg.
They are omnivorous in nature and their diet mainly consists of insects such as locusts, ants, beetles, termites and grasshoppers.
They also eat lizards, birds, fruits and small mammals such as rodents. Blanford’s Foxes can go without water for several days because they get their water content from the fruit they eat. They like to eat grapes, melons, Caper berries and Russian chives.
On average, they have a lifespan of about 4-5 years, but some individuals have been reported to live up to 10 years.
The foxes are nocturnal in nature. They hunt and feed at night and remain inside their caves, dens or other rocky shelters during the day.
Like all other fox species, Blanford’s Foxes have a sharp sense of smell, keen eyesight and very good hearing.
Blanford’s Foxes are monogamous in nature. Mating season starts in December and continues through February. The young foxes are born after a gestation period of 50-60 days. Each adult female fox can give birth to 1-4 babies at a time.
The baby foxes are nursed by their mothers for the first 30-45 days of their life. They reach sexual maturity 8-12 months after their birth.