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Окрас шерсти южноафриканской лисицы варьирует от чёрного до серебристо-серого с лёгким желтоватым оттенком по бокам и на животе. Кончик хвоста всегда чёрный. Длина тела составляет 45—61 см, длина хвоста 30—40 см, высота в холке 28—33 см, а масса от 3,6 до 5 кг.
Южноафриканская лисица активна в ночное время и встречается в саваннах поодиночке или в парах. Как большинство лисиц, южноафриканская лисица всеядна и питается, в основном, мелкими млекопитающими и плодами.
They are solitary creatures, and although they form mated pairs, the males and females are often found alone, as they tend to forage separately. They are not especially territorial but will mark their territories with a pungent scent. Although a normally silent fox, the Cape fox is known to communicate with soft calls, whines or chirps. However, it will utter a loud bark when alarmed. When in an aggressive mood, the Cape fox is known to growl and spit at its attacker. To show its excitement, the fox lifts its tail, the height of the tail often indicating the measure of excitement.
Cape foxes are omnivorous and will eat plants or animals. Although they prefer invertebrates and small mammals such as rodents, they are opportunists and known to hunt and eat reptiles, rabbits, spiders, birds, and young hares. They will also eat eggs, beetle larvae, and carrion, as well as most insects or fruits. Cape foxes have been reported to be able to kill lambs up to three months of age, although this is a rare occurrence.
Typical of most Canid species, Cape foxes will mate for life. They are capable of breeding all year long, unlike the red fox, although they typically have offspring in the months from October to January. The female Cape fox has a gestation period of 51 to 53 days and gives birth to a litter of one to six cubs (or kits). Reared underground in burrows, the cubs will stay close to the den until they are about four months old. They are weaned at around six to eight weeks of age, but do not begin to forage until they are four months old. Cubs usually become independent at five months of age, at which point they will disperse (typically in June or July). They typically weigh from 50 to 100 grams (1.7 - 3.5 ounces) at birth. Both parents will care for the young, with the male also providing for the female during the first two weeks. A family group usually consists of the parents and their offspring, but different family groups sometimes mix during feeding. Multiple litters are possible and have been observed; however, the female usually chases out the cubs from the last litter when she is expecting another one. Cape foxes are fully grown within about a year, with both the female and the male reaching sexual maturity at 9 months. The Cape fox has a life expectancy of about six years, but can live for up to 10 years.
The Cape fox is thought to help regulate populations of small mammals. Predators of the Cape fox include hawks and owls, as well as caracal, leopard, hyena, and lion. They often succumb to diseases such as rabies and canine distemper, and in more recent times have started to become victims of traps set out for problem animals. A large number of Cape foxes are killed on the road by vehicles. Many are hunted and persecuted as vermin. Some may be mistaken for jackals and held responsible for livestock losses. About 2,500 individuals are killed yearly; this is about 16% of the total Cape fox population. Cape foxes are not regarded as a threatened species.
Если ежегодно уничтожают 16% популяции, эдак пару лет и их не останется. И считают, что они не под угрозой? Как-то странно..
Per aspera ad astra