Kit Fox Kits
Kit & Swift Foxes - Vulpes macrotis & Vulpes velox
Life Cycle

Unlike red foxes, breeding pairs of swift foxes have been known to maintain contact with each other all year round. Males have also been known to occasionally mate with more than one female in one season. The breeding season for the swift fox extends from late December to early March, being somewhat earlier in southern regions (breeding for kit foxes occurs between December and February). The average gestation period for both species is 50 days, the pups being born between April and May.

Kit Fox Kits
Kit fox litters may range between 1 and 8 pups.

Litters may range between 1 and 8 pups, with 4 or 5 being average. The whelps have an average mass of about 40g at birth. The pups eyes are open by the end of their second week, and they first venture from their den by the time they are a month old. The mother depends on her mate for food while nursing her offspring. The pups are fully weaned by seven weeks of age. The pups show an adult appearance by their second month, and full maturity is achieved by the end of autumn.

Swift foxes have been known to reach 13 years of age in captivity while one kit fox specimen has lived over 20 years. Estimates of longevity in the wild vary between 5 to 10 years. These estimates seem somewhat overoptimistic given the large number of animals that prey on these species, and their generally trusting nature. Natural enemies include coyotes, domesticated and feral dogs, eagles, hawks, and red foxes. Humans also play an important role in kit and swift fox mortality, through inadvertent trapping, poisoning, roadkills, and habitat destruction.

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