Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Carnivora · Canidae · Vulpes velox

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
Teacher Resources
About the Site
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

* PDF reader
available here

(opens in a new window)

Vulpes velox

Swift Fox

Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae

Image of Vulpes velox
Vulpes velox - swift fox
Click to enlarge this image. (126 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Swift foxes are primarily nocturnal, but can sometimes be seen sunning themselves near the entrance to a den. They live on prairie grasslands just east of the Rocky Mountains. Like other foxes, they face many dangers: coyotes prey on them, and they are susceptible to trapping, poisoning, and being hit by automobiles. Disease, den cave-ins, and starvation also cause mortality. Habitat destruction has greatly reduced their available habitat. In Canada, swift foxes are protected as an endangered species and attempts are being made to reintroduce them in the Canadian prairie provinces.

Also known as:

Northern Kit Fox, Prairie Kit Fox, Swift Kit Fox

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are larger than females.


Range: 740-820 mm males; 680-750 mm females


Range: 1.4-3.0 kg


Say, T., 1823.  in Account of an expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains : performed in the years 1819 and 20, by order of the Hon. J.C. Calhoun, secy of war, under the command of Major Stephen H. Long : from the notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other gentlemen of the exploring party compiled by Edwin James, botanist and geologist for the expedition; in two vols., H.C. Carey and I. Lea, Philadelphia,1822-23. Vol 1, p 486.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).  (see Vulpes macrotis)

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists species account * (opens in a new window).
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Vulpes velox

Image of Vulpes velox
Click to enlarge this image. (84kb)

Skull of Vulpes velox
Click to enlarge this image. (21kb)

end of text