Gray Fox

Gray fox kit looking adorable
Gray fox kit in Zion Canyon

NPS photo

Gray Fox
(Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

The gray fox is one of nature's most versatile creatures, with many unique adaptations that help them thrive in Zion National Park. Thanks to a rotating forearm (similar to that of cats and bears), the gray fox is the only species of canine in North America that is able to climb trees. They climb trees to raid bird nests or to escape predators; some may even use a hollow tree trunk as a den. Gray foxes are opportunistic omnivores—they prefer to eat small mammals, but also dine on lizards, invertebrates, and plants. They have an expanded second molar that provides a greater crushing surface to munch on plant material, such as fruits and nuts, more effectively than other species of fox. These adaptations help the gray fox to never miss out on a meal, or a safe place to spend the day.

In Zion National Park, gray foxes live in areas of thick vegetation or forested riverbanks such as those found along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Gray fox are mostly nocturnal (so not often seen by visitors), but fox scat—often filled with cactus fruit or juniper seeds—is commonly seen on some park trails.
 
Night photo of gray fox from motion-activated wildlife camera
Adult gray fox photographed in Zion with a motion-activated wildlife camera

NPS photo

 

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Last updated: December 6, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767

Phone:

(435) 772-3256
Staffed daily from 8 am - 4 pm. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. If you are unable to reach someone by phone, please email us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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