Cape Fox

The only true fox and the smallest canid found in South Africa. The Cape Fox is silver-grey in colour with large pointed ears. They have a dark colouring around the mouth. Adults measure 350 mm at the shoulders and have a weight of 2.5-3 kg.

Remarkably agile, especially since the bushy tail serves as a counterbalance when dodging and weaving.


The Cape Fox preys on insects, mice and other small animals. They occasionally ingest wild fruit and carrion in farming areas.


The Cape Fox is a seasonal breeder, giving birth in the early summer to between one and 5 young, after a gestation period of 51-52 days.

1 – 5 young are born from October – November after a gestation period of ± 2 months. The female has one pair of groin and 2 pairs of abdominal mammae.


The Cape Fox is mainly nocturnal. Its social system is not well understood but it would appear to be monogamous, like other canids.


Inhabits mainly open country, from open grassland plains with scattered thickets to semi-desert scrub, and also extending into fynbos. Associated strongly with the fringes of water pans. Widespread in South Africa, occurring in most parts of the Western and Northern Cape provinces, the Eastern Cape (including Sibuya Game Reserve) the Free State, western and north-western KwaZulu-Natal and the North-West province. Also occurring in Lesotho.


Has 5 toes on the fore-feet, but the first toe and claw do not mark in the spoor. Has 4 toes on the hind-feet. The claws on the front feet are thin, sharp and curved, about 15 mm in length across the curve. Those on the hind-feet are the same shape and about the same length.


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