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What is the rarest type of fox?

What is the rarest type of fox?

Foxes are members of the Canidae family and come in a wide variety of species and subspecies. While some foxes like the red fox are quite common, others are incredibly rare with only a few hundred left in the wild. Determining the rarest type of fox is difficult as conservation statuses fluctuate and new species continue to be discovered. However, some clear contenders for the title emerge when examining key factors like population numbers, geographic range, and extinction risk.

Critically Endangered Foxes

Some of the rarest foxes in the world are those listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is the highest risk category before extinction in the wild. Here are some of the foxes that are Critically Endangered:

Species Population Range
Darwin’s Fox 250 mature individuals Chile
Island Fox 1,300 mature individuals California Channel Islands
Santa Catalina Island Fox 1,800 mature individuals Santa Catalina Island

As you can see from the table, each of these species has an extremely small population concentrated in a limited geographic area. Habitat loss and predation by invasive species like golden eagles have decimated their numbers. Without conservation efforts, they could easily become extinct in the near future.

Endangered Foxes

The Endangered category is the next highest risk level before Critical. Though slightly less threatened than Critically Endangered foxes, these species also number only in the hundreds or thousands:

Species Population Range
Bengal Fox 2,500 mature individuals India
Blanford’s Fox Unknown, likely under 10,000 Middle East and Central Asia
Pribilof Island Arctic Fox Around 300 Pribilof Islands, Alaska

The Bengal fox faces habitat loss and competition from other canids like jackals. Blanford’s fox populations are suspected to be declining. The Pribilof Island Arctic fox is threatened by a lack of genetic diversity and interbreeding with farmed foxes. Without help, Endangered foxes are also at risk of vanishing.

Foxes With Limited Range

Another factor that influences rarity is how geographically restricted a population is. Even if their numbers are stable, foxes with very limited habitat have an elevated risk. Here are some foxes that exist only in certain small areas:

Species Population Range
Urocyon sp. 1 Unknown 1 island in the Channel Islands, California
Urocyon sp. 2 Unknown 2-3 islands in the Channel Islands, California
Japanese Fox Unknown, likely under 10,000 3 islands of Japan

These newly discovered foxes have either not been formally described or lack population data, but they are only found on one or several small islands. Their isolated habitats make conservation difficult and puts them at high risk of extinction. Disease, natural disasters, or habitat change could wipe them out quickly since they have nowhere else to go. Their rarity stems from their severely limited range.

Foxes With Small Populations

Some foxes have very low populations even if their range is not as restricted. These include:

Species Population Range
Swift Fox Unknown, under 10,000 Western North America
Kit Fox Unknown, potentially under 10,000 Southwest North America
Rüppell’s Fox Unknown, likely under 10,000 Northern Africa

Though found across large swaths of North America, swift foxes and kit foxes have experienced significant population declines and only exist in fragmented populations today. Rüppell’s fox faces human-driven habitat loss in its native Africa. Their low population sizes even across wider ranges make them rare and at risk.


In summary, the rarest type of fox is challenging to definitively pin down, as many species have low and declining populations. However, the most endangered are likely those classified as Critically Endangered by conservation authorities, such as Darwin’s fox, the island fox, and the Santa Catalina island fox. Their populations number only in the hundreds in highly limited areas, putting them at great risk of extinction. However, many other foxes also qualify as extremely rare, from newly discovered species with unknown population sizes to well-known species declining across larger ranges. Conservation efforts are needed to protect these precious canids. Going forward, species inventories and genetic studies may reveal new foxes that also need protection. Foxes face many threats, but with support, we can ensure the survival of even the rarest types.