Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Canidae

Scientific Name: Cerdocyon thous
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Zorro, Savannah Fox, Common Zorro
Spanish Zorro, Perro De Monte, Perro Sabanero, Perro-zorro, Zorra Baya, Zorro Cangrejero, Zorro Carbonero, Zorro Común, Zorro De Monte, Zorro-lobo, Zorro Patas Negras, Zorro-perro, Zorro Perruno, Zorro Sabanero
French Chien Des Bois, Renard Crabier

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Courtenay, O. & Maffei, L.
Reviewer(s): Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Hoffmann, M. (Canid Red List Authority)
The Crab-eating Fox is relatively common throughout its range, occupying most habitats. No precise estimates of population sizes are available, but populations generally are considered stable.

This species assessment was reviewed by J. Dalponte, C.A. Delgado-V, M. Renata, P.L. Pitman, M. Lucherini and A. Parera (IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group).
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is relatively common throughout its range from the coastal and montane regions in northern Colombia and Venezuela, south to the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina (35ºS); and from the eastern Andean foothills (up to 2,000 m) in Bolivia and Argentina (67ºW) to the Atlantic forests of east Brazil to the western coast of Colombia (1ºN). Its known central distribution in lowland Amazon forest is limited to areas north-east of the Rio Amazon and Rio Negro (2ºS, 61ºW), south-east of the Rio Amazon and Rio Araguaia (2ºS, 51ºW), and south of Rio Beni, Bolivia (11ºS).

Few records exist in Suriname and Guyana. Recent records in French Guyana (Hansen and Richard-Hansen 2000) have yet to be confirmed (F. Catzeflis pers. comm.). The previous citation of its occurrence in Peru (Pacheco et al. 1995) has since been retracted by the authors (D. Cossios pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; French Guiana; Guyana; Paraguay; Suriname; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:No precise estimates of population sizes are available, but populations generally are considered stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Occupies most habitats including marshland, savanna, cerrado, caatinga, chaco-cerrado-caatinga transitions, scrubland, woodlands, dry and semi-deciduous forests, gallery forest, Atlantic forest, Araucaria forest, isolated savanna within lowland Amazon forest, and montane forest. Records up to 3,000 m. Readily adapts to deforestation, agricultural and horticultural development (e.g., sugarcane, eucalyptus, melon, pineapples) and habitats in regeneration. In the arid Chaco regions of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, confined to woodland edge; more open areas used by the Pampas Fox.

Vegetative habitats generally utilized in proportion to abundance, varying with social status and climatic season. Radio-tagged foxes in seasonally flooded savannas of Marajó, Brazil, predominated in wooded savanna (34%) and regeneration scrub (31%); low-lying savanna was "avoided", and areas of wooded savanna "preferred", more by senior than junior foxes and more in the wet season than dry season (Macdonald and Courtenay 1996). In the central llanos of Venezuela, fox home ranges similarly shift to higher ground in response to seasonal flooding, though are generally located in open palm savanna (68% of sightings) and closed habitats (shrub, woodlands, deciduous forest, 32%) (Brady 1979; Sunquist et al. 1989). In Minas Gerais, Brazil, two radio-tagged foxes (one male, one female) in different territories were observed most often at the interface of livestock pasture and gallery forest ("vereidas") (82%) and in eucalyptus/agricultural plantations (8%) (O. Courtenay, unpubl.). Eighty-eight Crab-eating Fox specimens collected by the Smithsonian Venezuelan Project were taken from prairie and pasture (49%), deciduous and thorn forest (19%), evergreen forest (17%), and marshes, croplands and gardens (15%) (Handley 1976 as cited in Cordero-Rodríguez and Nassar 1999).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main potential threat is from spill-over pathogenic infection from domestic dogs. In the Serra da Canastra National Park, Brazil, Crab-eating Foxes raid human refuse dumps in close company with unvaccinated domestic dogs along park boundaries (R. Cunha de Paula pers. comm.).

The species is of no direct commercial value as furbearer due to the unsuitability of the fur which is coarse and short; however, pelts are sometimes traded as those of the South American grey fox in Argentina, and as those of the latter species and the Pampas Fox in Uruguay (Cravino et al. 1997, A. Farias pers. comm.). Current illegal trade is small as the probable consequence of low fur prices; in Paraguay, for example, no illegal fox pelts were confiscated from 1995 to 2000 (J. Cartes pers. comm.)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES – Appendix II.

In Argentina, the crab-eating fox was considered "not endangered" by the 1983 Fauna and Flora National Direction
(resolution 144), and its exploitation and commercial use was forbidden in 1987 (A. Novaro pers. comm., A. Farias pers. comm.).

There is no specific protective legislation for this species in any country, though hunting wildlife is officially forbidden in most countries. Generally, there is no specific pest regulatory legislation for the Crab-eating Fox, but it is strongly disliked locally as a pest of livestock (poultry and lambs) leading to illegal hunting and consequential sales of pelts. In some countries, pest control is limited by specific quotas (without official bounties), although the system is often ignored, abused, or not reinforced (J. Carvino pers. comm., A. Soutullo pers. comm.). In Uruguay, hunting permits have not been issued since 1989 on the basis that lamb predation by foxes is negligible (Cravino et al. 1997, 2000).

Occurs in a large number of protected and unprotected areas across its geographical range.

No conservation measures are proposed for this species. No protection required at present.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Berta, A. 1987. Origin, diversification, and zoogeography of the South American Canidae. Fieldiana: Zoology 39: 455-471.

Biodiversitas (ed.). 1998. Livro vermelho das espécies ameaçadas de extinção da fauna de Minas Gerais.In: A.B.M. Machado, G.A.B. da Fonseca, R.B. Machado, L.M.S. Aguiar and L.V. Lins (eds), Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Brady, C. A. 1979. Observations on the behaviour and ecology of the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous). In: J. F. Eisenberg (ed.), Vertebrate ecology in the northern neotropics, pp. 161-171. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Cordero-Rodríguez, G. A. and Nassar, J. M. 1999. Ecological data on Cerdocyon thous in Barlovento region, State of Miranda, Venezuela. Acta Biologica Venezuelica 19: 21-26.

Cravino, J. L., Calvar, M. E., Berrutti, M. A., Fontana, N. A. and Poetti, J. C. 1997. American southern cone foxes: predators or prey? An Uruguayan study case. Journal of Wildlife Research 2: 107-114.

Díaz, G. B. and Ojeda, R. A. (eds). 2000. Libro rojo: mamíferos amenazados de la Argentina. pp. 106 pp.. Soc. Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos, Buenos Aires.

Ergueta, S.P. and Morales, C. (eds). 1996. Libro rojo de los vertebrados de Bolivia. Centro de Datos para la Conservación, La Paz, Bolivia.

Hansen, E. and Richard-Hansen, C. 2000. Faune de Guyane. Guide des principales espèces soumises à réglementation. Roger Le Guen, Garies, France.

Macdonald, D. W. and Courtenay, O. 1996. Enduring social relationships in a population of crab-eating zorros, Cerdocyon thous, in Amazonian Brazil (Carnivora, Canidae). Journal of Zoology (London) 239: 329-355.

Pacheco, V., de Macedo, H., Vivar, E., Ascorra, C.F., Arana-Cardó, R. and Solari, S. 1995. Lista anotada de los mamíferos peruanos. Occasional Papers in Conservation Biology 2: 1-35.

Rodriguez, J. V. 1998. Listas preliminares de mamíferos colombianos con algún riesgo a la extinción.

Sillero-Zubiri, C., Hoffmann, M. and Macdonald, D.W. (eds). 2004. Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Sunquist, M. E., Sunquist, F. and Dancke, D. F. 1989. Ecological separation in a Venezuelan llanos carnivore community. Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy: 197.

Citation: Courtenay, O. & Maffei, L. 2008. Cerdocyon thous. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T4248A10701650. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided