By Daniel Jacka / Photo by Bruce D. Taubert
Kit foxes are the runts on the fox family tree. Of the three species found in Arizona, kit foxes are by far the smallest. They're also the most elusive.
They can be found around the state — from the southwestern region to the Flagstaff area and a little farther north — but they prefer the sandy plains of the desert, where they spend their days in underground dens.
Like humans, kit foxes will do whatever it takes to beat the heat, and hiding in the shade of a den keeps their temperatures regulated. Dens also provide a safe haven for baby foxes, which, coincidentally, are called kits.
After mating season (December to February), females deliver a litter of five to seven kits, but the young foxes won't step foot outside of their dens until they're 4 months old, and they won't become independent until they're about 6 months old.
Once they're out of their dens, foxes tend to stick with their families for life, and while multiple families might share a hunting ground, they rarely hunt together — or even at the same time. Instead, they head out on solo missions to prowl for cottontails, rodents, birds and animal eggs.