36-48 inches total length; tail 12-17 inches. Weight 12-19 pounds.
Artic Circle to Mexican border; possibly introduced from Europe.
Open farmlands, woodlands, brushy country bordering on marshes and swamps, treeless mountain slopes, and even suburban areas.
- Wild - Omnivorous; rodents, rabbits, birds and eggs, small reptiles, insects, fruits and berries, carrion. Feeds more heavily on small animals during winter months.
- Zoo - Dry dog food and carnivore diet.
Reddish with blackish hairs above, white underneath; feet, legs, and ears black; tail with wide black band and white tip. Black and other color phases occur and are raised for the fur trade.
- Graceful, gliding effortlessly; walks on toes; can spurt to 26 mph.
- Develops a lush winter coat, wrapping in tail for extra warmth.
- Can produce a strong skunky smell.
- Males yelp, females yap.
- Enemies include bobcats, coyotes, wolves, dogs, bears, golden eagles. Hunted by man for fur.
- Digs long tunnels with many exits.
Gestation period 50-53 days; average four to six kits born in a tunnel; they are blind for the first 10 days. Female stays with young; the male bringing her food. Kits wean at 8 to 10 weeks.
Not threatened; often considered a pest to gardens and poultry.
G. H. Lowry, Jr. 1974. The Mammals of Louisiana and Its Adjacent Waters.