Bengali language/বাংলা ভাষার
Indonesian/Bahasa Indonesia
Italian/lingua italiana
Turkish/Türk dili
Ukrainian/Українська Мова
Vietnamese/Tiếng Việt
Russian/русский язык
[log in Register]

Vulpes Bengalensis

dnaoodb: professional biology database , biology encyclopedia

in biology, Bengal Fox (Alias:Vulpes Bengalensis or Indian Fox) is a fox endemic to the Indian subcontinent from the Himalayan foothills and Terai of Nepal through southern India, and from southern and eastern Pakistan to eastern India and southeastern Bangladesh.

It lives in shrubs and extremely arid areas. It is omnivorous and mainly eats rodents, lizards, crabs, termites, insects, small birds and fruits.

The length of head and tail is 70-100 cm. The muzzle is longer, the ears are pointed, and the tail is long. The back is gray, the belly is lighter, and the feet are brown or reddish brown. The tail is hairy and has a black tip.

Scientific classification

Vulpes Bengalensis,Bengal Fox,Indian Fox
Protection level:
Named by and Year:
Shaw, 1800
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Mammalia
Vulpes Bengalensis
Mode Of Reproduction:
Reproductive Form:
Sexual Reproduction


Vulpes bengalensis is a relatively small fox with an elongated muzzle, long, pointed ears, and a long, bushy tail. The pelage ranges in color from buff to silver-gray with an overall grizzled effect; the dorsal pelage is mostly grayish and paler ventrally. The legs tend to be brownish or rufous, and the underparts light, a pale sand or ginger shade.

The Bengal fox is more daintily built than the red fox (V. vulpes), and can readily be recognized by its bushy, black-tipped tail, which is around 50–60% of the length of the head and body.

The backs of the ears are dark brown with a black margin, and white inside. The ears have the same colour as the nape or maybe darker, but not having a dark patch as in V. vulpes. Its rhinarium is naked and the lips are black. The muzzle is pointy, and there may be a dark smudged marking along the upper part of muzzle in front of eyes. Extensive variation in coat colour exists across populations and seasonally within populations, but generally varies from grey to pale brown. The head and body length is 18 in (46 cm), with a 10 in (25 cm) long tail. Typical weight is 5 to 9 pounds (2.3 to 4.1 kg).

The genus Vulpes can be separated from Canis and Cuon in the Indian region by the flat forehead between the postorbital processes and not inflated by air cells. The processes themselves are slightly concave with a raised anterior edge (convexly round in other canids). The canine teeth are longer.

Distribution And Habitat

The Bengal Fox is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, ranging from the Himalayan foothills and Terai of Nepal through the South portion of the Indian Peninsula (but the western and east Ghats are not included) and from southern and eastern Pakistan to eastern India and southeastern Bangladesh. In Nepal and northeast India, it occurs up to 1,500 meters long. It was not reported from Afghanistan or Iran or from the Western Ghats, India.

Its range is bounded by the Himalayas and the Indus River valley. It favors semiarid, flat to undulating land, bush and short grassland habitats. It avoids dense forests, steep terrain, tall grasslands and true deserts. It is relatively widespread in low rainfall areas where the vegetation is usually scrub, thorn or dry deciduous forests, or short grasslands. In the Indian peninsula, the species is confined to plains and open scrub forests. It was considered to be a habitat generalist, but it shows a strong preference for semiarid, short grassland habitats at multiple scales.

Living Habits

The Bengal Fox's preferred habitat is a small area of open grassland and thorny shrubs, and they seem to avoid steep mountains and endless grasslands. Recent research reports indicate that the Bengal Fox strongly prefers semi-arid and small-scale grassland habitats. Bengal Fox mainly comes out at dawn and dusk. When the weather is hot, they will hide in the grass or in underground nests they have dug. The nests dug by Bengal Fox usually consist of large and complex rooms and tunnels.

Bengal Fox mainly eats rodents, lizards, crabs, termites, insects, small birds and fruits.

Like most foxes, Bengal Fox's vocalizations are quite diverse. Continuous chirping is the most common, but others include growling, whimpering, and sobbing.

Reproduction Method

Autumn is the Bengal Fox's mating season (usually October to November). The gestation period of a female fox is about 50-60 days, and she gives birth to an average of 2-4 cubs in one litter. Both parents will raise the cubs, but most of them are taken care of by the mother fox. The cubs are weaned 3 or 4 months after birth and begin to contact the outside world. The mortality rate of a young fox is very high, especially in its first few months of life. When the fox cubs reach the age of 5 months, they are still sucking milk. Their teeth are gradually developing and perfecting, and sometimes they accidentally bite their mother's nipples. The female fox knows that the weaning period is coming. In captivity, the Bengal Fox lives about 6-8 years.

Population Status

The Bengal Fox is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Although widespread, they remain at low densities throughout their range, with the potential for significant population fluctuations in response to prey. Bengal Fox numbers are declining due to losses caused by intensive agricultural and industrial development projects in short grassland scrub habitat. However, the decline was not significant enough for the species to be listed as an existential threat and was therefore assessed as a species of greatest concern.