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NHMLA Member Magazine

October November 2017
Download the Naturalist PDF (4 MB)


Island gray fox

Urocyon littoralis (Baird, 1858)

Island gray fox diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 San Nicolas Island, California

Background artist:

 Robert Russell Reid

Channel Island foxes are mostly nocturnal, with a range of up to one square mile. They mark their territories by urine and feces left on conspicuous land features and climb trees well.

Native Americans used Channel island fox fur for arrow-quivers, capes, blankets, and headdresses for ceremonial dances. They were also kept as pets. Native Americans used the island fox in their religious and ceremonial practices where they served as totems, dream-helpers, and legendary characters.

Biological Information

Range map for the island gray fox


The larger California Channel Islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Sam Miguel, Sanra Catalina, San Nicolas, and San Clemente


All available island habitats


Threatened but stable


Deer mice, birds, lizards, insects and seasonally available fruits and berries

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for island gray fox.