USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Swift Fox Symposium

Experience in Hand-raising Swift Foxes for Zoo Display and Public Education

John Creviston1 and David Leeb2. 1Crystal Garden Zoo, 613 Pandora Ave. Victoria, BC V8W 1N8. 2Valley Zoo, PO Box 2359, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R1.

This presentation compares and contrasts the experiences of a number of hand-raised swift fox (Vulpes velox) and their human handlers, and the reasons for hand-rearing. Areas covered include growth and development, hand-feeding diets, age when removed from the natal den, effects of removal on fox parents and litter mates, predatory and foraging success, breeding and parenting hazards, relationships to humans and house pets, and general observations. Special attention is given to diets and their effects on growth rates and on recognition of different food sources and prey. The latter was of special concern to the program to reestablish the swift fox on the Canadian prairie.

A total of eight swift foxes were reared with some degree of human involvement during the time frame of 1985 through 1989. Five of these foxes were completely habituated to humans and their environments, two were nursed by a domestic cat, and one was taken from his family at a more advanced state. Of these animals, the kits that were removed at the youngest ages adapted best to human environments while the kits removed at older ages accepted people only reluctantly. Even then the kits had a clear and positive relationship only to the humans or animals they knew, and were essentially wild to anyone else.

Previous Section -- Distribution and Population Status of the Kit Fox
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Factors Influencing Populations of San Joaquin Kit Foxes

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Saturday, 02-Feb-2013 05:59:13 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]