Red fox Vulpes vulpes: If there is one species that can display extraordinary adaptive capability, it has to be the red fox. Possibly the most widespread carnivore on the planet, its range comprises the whole of the northern hemisphere, including the Arctic circle! A crucial adaptive physiological feature of this canid is its ability to survive in contrasting habitats on account of its sophisticated thermoregulation ability. Added to this, are its finely-honed hunting skills, born of razor-sharp reflexes, and an acute sense of both smell and sight. A warming climate might well present this wily animal with the one threat it cannot cope with… competition from more powerful predators for whom melted snows offer access to hitherto inaccessible foods once ‘reserved’ for cold-adapted creatures such as the red fox.
Status: Least Concern
Photo: Shivaram Subramaniam