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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet a Channel Island Fox

The endangered Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is only found on six of California's Channel Islands and no where else in the world. To survive on islands with limited resources, the island fox is an opportunistic omnivore–he eats a wide variety of insects, small animals, and native fruit.

Watch this San Clemente Island fox (Urocyon littoralis clementae) hunting for beetles and beetle larva.


Recent research on island fox diet reveals differences in primary foods between the six subspecies of island fox (more on island fox diet). Each island habitat offers different food resources and the various island fox subspecies have adapted to survive on what their island home has to offer. All island foxes, however, rely on insects.

Their keen sense of smell and hearing helps them locate even the tiniest prey, while their small teeth function like precision tweezers to pick up grubs and beetles.

Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park

See where island foxes live on Santa Cruz Island and San Nicolas Island. Find out more about Channel Island foxes and conservation efforts at

More Earth Minute animal close-ups
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