Keep Me Wild: Kit Fox

You may be harming vulnerable wildlife like the San Joaquin kit fox without knowing it!

The San Joaquin (SJ) kit fox was once a thriving species in the 1930s, making their home in native grasslands of the Central Valley. In 1967 the federal government listed them as an endangered species and in 1971 California also listed them as threatened. SJ kit foxes play an important role in the ecosystem, but because they are adapting to changes in the landscape that are caused by urban development, sometimes humans find themselves in conflict with this typically shy and fearful animal. The cities of Bakersfield, Taft and Coalinga are unique because kit foxes have become established in those urban settings.

SJ kit foxes are hunters of insects, rodents and rabbits, but will take advantage of whatever is available including garbage and pet food. When kit foxes have easy access to trash and pet food, their natural behavior changes. They often lose caution and fear of people and urban environments exposing them to dangers from sports nets, poisons and vehicles.

kit fox caught in net
This young kit fox lost a rear leg after being entangled in a school volleyball net that was left out. Common nets causing these accidents are soccer goals, baseball batting cages, and volleyball nets. Please furl sports nets and put them away after use.

Because of federal and state endangered species laws, it is unlawful for public to handle or trap a SJ kit fox that is causing conflict in an urban environment. Well-intentioned attempts to do so may result in injury or even death to the fox. Help prevent deadly conflicts for these beautiful and rare wild animals:

  • Never feed a kit fox or other wildlife; keep pet food indoors.
  • Remove sources of water.
  • Seal trash containers to prevent access.
  • Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other prey.
  • Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
  • Don't trap stray cats in areas used by kit foxes. Trapped foxes could get injured and their pups are vulnerable when unattended.
  • Never fill or destroy a burrow that may be used by kit foxes. State and federal laws protect their burrows.
  • Take down sports nets at schools, parks and other recreational facilities when not in use. Store furled and out of reach, especially at night.
  • Avoid the use of rodent poisons in kit fox habitat.

If you find or have information about a trapped, injured, or distressed San Joaquin kit fox, please contact:
CDFW Central Region Wildlife Program, (559) 243-4005 ext.132

Please respect and protect wild animals.
Keep them wild.

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