Fresno's urban kit foxes like hot dogs, burritos, cat food

Fresno BeeJanuary 25, 2011 

Scientists have long known that endangered San Joaquin kit foxes live in Bakersfield, raiding dumpsters for half-eaten hot dogs, doughnuts and burritos.

Now it turns out that this critter has adapted to city life, eating an essentially human diet -- and thriving.

The kit fox -- protected in the 1960s even before the Endangered Species Act -- grows bigger and lives longer than foxes in the wild. The only downside for these city-dwelling foxes is high cholesterol.

A study, published last month in the Journal of Mammology, revealed the surprising results, said Bryan Cypher, research ecologist and kit fox expert in Bakersfield for the last 20 years.

"We just didn't know they were eating human food to this extent," said Cypher, who works for the Endangered Species Recovery Program at California State University, Stanislaus, and took part in the new research.

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