Hoary Fox

Lycalopex vetulus

©Adriano Gambarini

Standard English Name

Hoary fox

Scientific Name

Lycalopex vetulus

Brazilian common name/s


Distribution Map - IUCN

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Physical Description

Is very similar to the Crab-eating Fox (Cerdocyon thous). They have a total length of 60 to 100 cm and weigh between 3 and 4 kg. The coat is short with a yellowish-gray tint. The ears and paws are slightly reddish. The tail has long hair.

Ecology and Habitat

This species occurs in the region of the central Brazilian plateau, occupying open areas of Cerrado and presenting predominantly nocturnal activity patterns. Although generally timid, when threatened, they defend themselves and their young with courage.

The diet includes a lot of Isoptera (termites and ants), and also other insects, small rodents, birds and fruits.
The pups are born in abandoned burrows of armadillos or in dense vegetation. Usually, the litters have 2 to 4 pups.

General information

Average values with minimum and maximum in parentheses

Body / tail length (cm):

58 (49-72)a / 31 (25-38)a D


Omnivorous a,b

Weight (kg) / Height (cm):

3.4 (2.5-4)a / 35 (32-37) b

Living area (km2):


Number of puppies / Gestation (days):

(4-5) a / 67 a

Longevity (years):


Social structure:

Alone or in couples during reproduction

Activity pattern:


a (Dalponte & Courtenay 2004), b (Courtenay et al. 2006)

Online links

IUCN Canid Specialist Group – http://www.canids.org

Canid News – http://www.canids.org/canidnews/index.htm


Brady, C. A. (1979). Observations on the behavior and ecology of the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous). In J. F. Eisenberg (Ed.), Studies of vertebrate zoology in the northern neotropics (pp. 161-171). Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press.

Bueno, A. D., & Motta, J. C. (2004). Food habits of two syntopic canids, the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), in southeastern Brazil. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 77, 5-14.

Rocha, V. J., Aguiar, L. M., Silva-Pereira, J. E., Moro-Rios, R. F., & Passo, F. C. (2008). Feeding habits of the crab-eating fox, Cerdocyon thous (Carnivora: Canidae), in a mosaic area with native and exotic vegetation in Southern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 25, 594-600.

Vasconcellos-Neto, J., de Albuquerque, L. B., & Silva, W. R. (2009). Seed dispersal of Solanum thomasiifolium Sendtner (Solanaceae) in the Linhares Forest, Espirito Santo state, Brazil. Acta Botanica Brasilica, 23, 1171-1179.

Vieira, E. M., & Port, D. (2007). Niche overlap and resource partitioning between two sympatric fox species in southern Brazil. Journal of Zoology, 272, 57-63.

Learn more about Brazilian carnivore species