Tod

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Tods
Vulpes vulpes laying in snow.jpg
Reid Tod (Vulpes vulpes)
Scienteefic clessification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genera

Tods are smaw-tae-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belangin several genera o the Canidae faimily. Tods is slichtly smawer than a medium-size domestic dug, wi a flattened skull, upricht triangular lugs, a pyntit, slichtly upturned snout, an a lang bushy tail (or brush).

Twal species belang the monophyletic group o Vulpes genus o "true tods". Thareby anither 25 current or extinct species is aye or whiles cried tods; thir tods is aither pairt o the paraphyletic group o the South American tods, or o the ootlyin group, whilk consists o bat-eared tod, gray tod, an island tod.[1] Tods is foond on lika continent cep Antarctica. Bi far the maist common an widespread species o tod is the reid tod (Vulpes vulpes) wi aboot 47 recognised sub-species.[2] The global distribution o tods, thegither wi thair widespread reputation for cunning, haes contreibutit tae thair prominence in popular culture an folklore in mony societies aroond the warld. The huntin o tods wi packs o hounds, lang an established pursuit in Europe, especially in the Breetish Isles, wis exportit bi European settlers tae various pairts o the New Warld.

Biology[eedit | eedit soorce]

Fox skeleton

General morphology[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tods are generally smawer than ither members o the faimily Canidae like gray wouf, jackals, an domestic dugs. For insaumple, in the lairgest species, the reid tod, males wee on average atween 4.1 an 8.7 kg (9.0 an 19.2 lb),[3] while the weeest species, the fennec tod, wees juist 0.7 tae 1.6 kg (1.5 tae 3.5 lb).[4] Fox-lik features teepically include a triangular face, pyntit lugs, an elangatit rostrum, an a bushy tail. Tods is digitigrade; thay walk on thair taes. Unalik thair dug kin, tod claws is partially retractable.[5] Tod vibrissae, or whiskers, are black. The whiskers on the muzzle, mystaciae vibrissae, average 100-110mm lang, while the whiskers aw ither place on the heid average tae be shorter in lenth. Whiskers (carpal vibrissae) are foond on the forelimbs an aa an average oot tae be 40mm lang, pyntin dounwart an backwart.[2] Ither physical characteristics vary accordin tae habitat an its adaptive significance.

Pelage[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tod species differ in fur colour, lenth, an density. Coat colors range frae pearly white tae black an white tae black flecked wi white or grey on the underside. Fennec tods (an ither species o tod adapted tae life in the desert, such as kit tods), for insaumple, hae lairge lugs an short fur tae aid in keepin the body cuil.[2][5] Arctic tods, on the ither haund, hae teeny lugs an short limbs as weel as thick, insulating fur, whilk aid in keepin the body warm.[6] Reod tods, bi contrast, hae a teepical auburn pelt, the tail normally endin wi white merkin.[7] A tod's coat colour an textur mey vary due tae the chynge in seasons; tod pelts is richer an denser in the caulder months an lichter in the warmer months. Tae get rid o the dense winter coat, tods moult ance a year aroond Aprile; the process begins frae the feet, up the legs, an then alang the back.[5] Coat colour mey an aa chynge as the individual ages.[2]

Denteetion[eedit | eedit soorce]

A tod's denteetion, lik aw ither Canids, is I 3/3, C 1/1, PM 4/4, M 3/2 = 42. (Bat-eared tods hae sax extra molars, totaling in 48 teeth.) Tods hae pronoonced carnassial pairs, which is characteristic o a carnivore. Thae pairs consist o the upper premolar an the lawer first molar, an wirk thegither tae shear teuch material lik flesh. Tods' canines is pronoonced, characteristic o carnivores, an is excellent in gripping prey.[8]

Behavior[eedit | eedit soorce]

Arctic tod curled up in snaw

In the wild, the teepical lifespan o a tod is ane tae three year, tho individuals mey live up tae ten year. Unalik mony canids, tods isnae aye pack ainimals. Teepically, thay lives in smaw faimily groups, but some (Arctic tods) are kent tae be solitary.[2][5] Tods is omnivore.[9][10] The diet o tods is lairgely made up o invertebrates like insects, an smaw vertebrates like reptiles an birds, an can include eggs an plants an aa. Mony species are generalist predators, but some (such as the crab-eating tod) hae mair specialised diets. Maist species o tod consume aroond 1 kg (2.2 lb) o fuid ilka day. Tods cache excess fuid, buryin it for later consumption, uisually unner leafs, snaw, or soil.[5][11] Tods tend tae uise a puncin technique whaur thay crouch doun tae camouflage thairsels in the terrain, then uisin thair hint legs, leap up wi great force tae land on tap o thair targeted prey.[2] Uisin thair pronoonced canine teeth, tods grip on tae thair prey's neck an either shake til the prey is deid, or til the ainimal can be disemboweled.[2] The gray tod is ane o anly twa canine species kent tae clim trees; the ither is the raccoon dug.

Sexual characteristics[eedit | eedit soorce]

The male tod's scrotum is held close tae the body wi the testes inside even efter thay descend. Lik ither canines, the male tod haes a baculum, or penile bane.[2] The testes o reid tods are smawer than those o Arctic tods.[12] Sperm formation in reid tods begins in August–September, wi the testicles attainin thair greatest wecht in December–Februar.[13]

Vixens are in heat for ane tae sax days, makkin thair reproductive cycle twal month lang. As wi ither canines, the ova is shed in estrus wioot the need for the stimulation o copulatin. Ance the egg is fertilised, the vixen enters a period o gestation that can lest frae 52 tae 53 day. Tods tend tae hae an average litter size o fower tae five wi an 80 percent success rate in biggenin.[2][14] Litter sizes can vary greatly accordin tae species an environment – the Arctic tod, for example, can hae up tae eleven kits.[15]

The vixen haes fower pairs o teats. Ilka teat haes 8 tae 20 lactiferous ducts, whilk connect the mammary gland tae the nipple, allouin for milk tae be cairried tae the nipple.

Vocalization[eedit | eedit soorce]

The tod's vocal repertoire is vast:

  • Whine- Made shortly efter birth. Occurs at a heich rate whan cubs is hungry an whan thair body temperaturs is laich. Whinin stimulates the mither tae care for her young; it haes been kent tae stimulate the male tod intae carin for his mate an cubs an aw.
  • Yelp- Made aboot 19 day later. The cubs' whinin turns intae infantile berks, yelps, whilk occur hivily in play.
  • Explosive caw- At the age o aboot ane month, the cubs can emit an explosive caw whilk is intendit tae be threatenin tae intruders or ither cubs; a heich pitch howl.
  • Combative caw- In adults, the explosive caw becomes an open-moothed combative caw in ony conflict; a sharper bark.
  • Growl- An adult tod's indication tae their cubs tae feed or heid tae the adult's location.
  • Berk- Adult tods wairn agin intruders an in defense bi berkin.[2][16]

In the case o domesticatit tods, the whinin seems tae remain in adult individuals as a sign o excitement an submission in the presence o thair owners.[2]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Macdonald, edited by David W.; Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio (2004). The biology and conservation of wild canids (Nachdr. d. Ausg. 2004. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0198515561. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Lloyd, H.G. (1981). The red fox (2. impr. ed.). London: Batsford. p. 21. ISBN 0 7134 11902. 
  3. Larivière, S. & Pasitschniak-Arts, M. (1996). "Vulpes vulpes". Mammalian Species: No. 537, pp. 1–11. doi:10.2307/3504236. 
  4. Nobleman, Marc Tyler (2007). Foxes. Benchmark Books (NY). pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0-7614-2237-2. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Burrows, Roger (1968). Wild fox. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 9780715342176. 
  6. "Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)". ARKive. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  7. Fox, David. "Vulpes vulpes, red fox". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  8. "Canidae". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  9. Fedriani, J.M.; T. K. Fuller; R. M. Sauvajot; E. C. York (2000-07-05). "Competition and intraguild predation among three sympatric carnivores" (PDF). Oecologia 125 (2): 258–270. doi:10.1007/s004420000448. PMID 24595837. 
  10. Fox, David L. (2007). "Vulpes vulpes (red fox)". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. 
  11. Macdonald, David W. (26 April 2010). "Food Caching by Red Foxes and Some Other Carnivores". Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 42 (2): 170–185. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1976.tb00963.x. 
  12. Heptner & Naumov 1998, p. 341
  13. Heptner & Naumov 1998, p. 537
  14. Parkes, I. W. Rowlands and A. S. (21 August 2009). "The Reproductive Processes of certain Mammals.-VIII. Reproduction in Foxes (Vulpes spp.).". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 105 (4): 823–841. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1935.tb06267.x. 
  15. Hildebrand, Milton (1952). "The Integument in Canidae". Journal of Mammalogy 33 (4): 419–428. doi:10.2307/1376014. JSTOR 1376014. 
  16. Tembrock, Günter. "Canid vocalizations". Behavioural Processes 1 (1): 57–75. doi:10.1016/0376-6357(76)90007-3.