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Iipay Aa name: Parhaaw

Common name: Grey Fox

Scientific name: Urocyon cinereoargenteus

Have you seen a small cat-like dog run around the chaparral before? You probably saw a Grey Fox. The Grey Fox, known as Parhaaw in ‘Iipay Aa, is an adorably small, nocturnal canine. They have silvery grey fur all over their face and back. Red fur frames their cheeks and the front of their necks. Like a coyote, they have long bushy tails and pointed ears to help them listen for prey. They eat small mammals, including mice, rats, and rabbits. Though they are predators, there are larger animals who view these foxes as prey. Mountain lions, bobcats, and large birds of prey will sometimes hunt and eat grey foxes. That is why they can be considered shy creatures. According to Delfina Cuero (a Kumeyaay lady born circa 1900), if a fox comes near your house and makes a noise, you know a relative is going to pass away.

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Fun fact: Grey Foxes are the only dog-like species that can climb a tree. This is one of their few adaptations they need to survive. Another adaptation they have made in a chaparral habitat is insulation. Their thick fur will keep their bodies warm and protect them from the sun. With their fur, they are able to withstand hot and cold weather.

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