Cerdocyon – Crab-eating fox

During the wet season, they search for crabs in muddy floodplains

Sporting a primarily greyish-brown coat, the crab-eating fox also features distinct red patches that adorn its face, limbs, tail, and ears, contributing to its striking appearance. This coloration not only provides camouflage within its natural habitat but also highlights its diverse genetic lineage, which combines elements of both fox and dog-like characteristics — as suggested by its scientific name, Cerdocyon, derived from the Greek words for fox (‘kerdo’) and dog (‘kyon’).

The tail of the crab-eating fox, long, bushy, and marked by a black tip, is not just a defining physical trait but also serves as a tool for communication and balance. This versatile appendage aids in expressing emotions and intentions to other individuals, as well as maintaining stability during rapid movements or when navigating through dense vegetation.

Crab-eating foxes are primarily nocturnal, with peak activity periods occurring during dusk and dawn. This crepuscular lifestyle allows them to exploit a wider range of food sources while avoiding the heat of the day and minimizing the risk of predation. During daylight hours, they seek refuge in dens, which are often repurposed burrows excavated by other animals. These dens, typically concealed amidst dense bushes and grasses, provide shelter for rest and protection for their young.

Contrary to what their common name might suggest, crab-eating foxes have a highly varied diet that includes not only crabs but also a significant proportion of other prey items. They feed on a diverse array of animals, including reptiles, rodents, fish, birds, and eggs, as well as insects and fruits. This omnivorous diet highlights their adaptability to different environments and their role as both predator and seed disperser within their ecosystems.