South American fox

South American fox

▪ genus of mammals
also called  South American dog  or  South American jackal 

      any of five South American carnivores of the dog family (Canidae (canine)). Although these canines are not actually foxes, they resemble true foxes.

      In general, South American foxes are long-haired, rather grayish animals that grow to about 0.5–1 metre (1.6–3.3 feet) in length, excluding the bushy tail, which is 25–50 cm (10–20 inches) long. They are found in open terrain as opposed to thick forest, and they feed on small animals, birds, fruit and other plant material, and insects. Generally nocturnal, they live in abandoned burrows or in dens among rocks or trees. Both parents care for the litters of one to eight young. South American foxes can attack domestic livestock, but they are helpful in controlling rodent populations.

      Other foxlike canines of South America are the bush dog, the crab-eating fox, the maned wolf, the small-eared zorro (Atelocynus microtis), and the Falkland Island, or Antarctic, wolf (Dusicyon australis), which was hunted to extinction in the late 1800s.

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