The San Joaquin Kit FoxThe San Joaquin kit fox is primarily nocturnal. Throughout the night, the kit fox will hunt and feed on rodents and other small animals. They do not depend on freshwater sources, as their prey provides the fox with its moisture requirements.
The average life expectancy of a kit fox is 7 years with a general breeding age of 2.5 years. Female foxes have one litter of “pups” per year and begin searching for pupping dens in September to begin cleaning and enlarging in preparation for the new arrivals. These pupping dens are only one of anywhere from 3 to 24 dens that the foxes use throughout the year. Males will join the female kit foxes in October or November and most breeding occurs in early January. The gestation period is 49 to 55 days, with litters of 3 to 5 pups born in late February or early March. Pups will stay with the parents for about 4 to 5 months. At this time they are able to forage for themselves and disperse.
Much of the San Joaquin Valley, the San Joaquin kit foxes’ habitat, has been developed for agriculture, housing, or commercial industry. Other factors that the foxes face are predation by coyotes and vehicular traffic. To try and change the declining population of kit foxes, state biologists have implemented a program to construct and place artificial dens made of steel piping. The piping is wide enough for the small kit fox to enter, but small enough to keep out the fox’s natural predators, coyotes.