Why are some foxes fluffier then others?
When most people picture a fox they imagine an animal with a very long, fluffy fur coat. But not all foxes sport this fluffy fur. Often these shorter coated foxes are referred to as looking mangy and sick, especially in their very short summer coats. However, these foxes are not sick, but have simply evolved a different type of coat to deal with a different environment. Lets take a look at the three main coat types.
Above are the coats of red foxes from three different regions. The first is a fox from a very cold region (Kazakhstan), the middle is a fox from a more temperate region of Europe (Germany) and last is a fox from a very hot climate (Saudi Arabia).
The cold-region fox has very long, incredibly soft fur with a thick, downy undercoat. This type of fur helps to trap warm air against the skin while keeping out the cold air, providing the best insulation possible against a cold climate.
The temperate region fox has has a much shorter coat with very coarse hair and a thick, wiry undercoat. In much of western Europe the predominant weather type is rain and wind, and a soft, downy coat would provide zero protection against such weather. Instead these European foxes developed that harsh, tight fitting coat which does a much better job of protecting the animal against the elements.
Lastly the fox from the very hot climate has an even shorter, finer coat designed to prevent it from overheating. This coat is neither soft nor course, instead being very smooth, almost silky in texture. This fox’s coat is also much paler to blend in with the colors in the landscape.
This variation in fur type is just another example of how adaptable the red fox can be, allowing them to live in a vast array of habitats.
Top photos by sebwy and Tambako the Jaguar