24 December 2012

Arabian Red Fox – Dhahran Hills

The last couple of weeks I have been seeing the resident Arabian Red Fox near to the percolation pond on most evenings and morning trips. On a couple of occasions whilst walking I have been within a few metres of the animal, which seemed completely unafraid of my presence. The photographs of the Fox below were taken in the very early morning when I came across one when driving the car around the perimeter of the pond. The Fox did not allow very close approach but was quite content to sit and watch me before running off. A second fox then came along the same route as the first but this one saw the car and turned around and ran off. The Arabian Red Fox is a subspecies of the Common Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and is native to Arabia. It is highly adaptable and more adapted to desert life than its parent species and is a sandy red colour, with large ears and a much smaller body. The large ears help the fox maintain its body temperature and the fur between its toes, help it prevent burning its feet. They are most active at night and are mainly solitary with well-defined home ranges. They eat rodents, birds and fish which they actively hunt during the night, as well as some desert vegetation and even carrion. Arabian Red Fox can live in various environments including cities, towns, desert, mountains and coastal areas. The animals are so small that they are often confused for Desert Foxes, but the black flash down the chest is an obvious sign the animal is an Arabian Red Fox and not a Ruppell’s Fox.