Melanistic Red Fox

March 26, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to the Red Fox. 

Even though the fox looks like a mid-sized dog, it typically only weighs around 15 pounds (7 kg) and most of its appearance is fur.  The largest Red Fox males can be up to 30 pounds.

Easily recognizable by the white tip on its tail, as the name suggests, the main body of the Red Fox is typically red colored.  That being said, some Red Foxes are ... black!

A genetic mutation causes these Red Foxes to produce more melanin, which causes the black color.  Melanin is the pigment that provides hair its color.

Fun fact: melanin is also what makes a raven and crow entirely black.

Even though at least one of the parents of this cute melanistic Red Fox was red, and some of its siblings were red, both parents have to carry the recessive gene for the offspring to have a chance to be completely black (minus the white tip of the tail of course).

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Sitting near one of the den entrances
 


Playing with one of its siblings
 


 


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