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Desert Fox and Mange Disease

  • 30 Mar 2022
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently a few Desert Foxes were spotted in the scrub forests of Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, suffering from a loss of fur due to the Mange Skin Disease.

  • There were 8,331 foxes — both Indian and desert foxes — in the state according to the 2019 wildlife census of Rajasthan.

What is a Desert Fox?

  • Common Name: White-footed fox 
  • Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes pusilla
  • About:
    • Desert fox is the third sub-species of red fox in India.
      • Other two subspecies are: the Tibetan Red Fox and the Kashmir Red Fox.
    • They can be differentiated from other fox species by their white tail-tip. Beady eyes and a small snout give them an endearing, almost adorable look.
    • Its range does not overlap with that of other red fox sub-species.
  • Habitation:
    • Desert fox inhabits the dry and semi-arid regions of western and north-western India.
    • Desert foxes occupy less than half of their potential habitats in India.
    • Desert foxes can be found wandering around sand dunes and semi-dried river beds, where they build their dens.
    • They are omnivores consuming almost everything from berries and plants to desert rodents, insects, spiders, small birds, and lizards, like the spiny tail.
  • Threat:
    • They are threatened by habitat loss, road-related mortality and negative interactions with free-ranging/domestic dogs.
  • Protection Status:

What is Mange?

  • Mange is a skin disease of animals caused by mite infestations, characterized by inflammation, itching, thickening of the skin, and hair loss.
  • The most severe form of mange is caused by varieties of the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which also causes human scabies.
  • Some form of mange is known in all domestic animals, although many varieties of mange mites infest only one species.
  • They are transmitted between animals by direct contact and by objects that have been in contact with infested animals.
  • Most forms of mange are treatable.
  • When the infected animal scratches and the skin breaks, it lays eggs and multiplies. The affected area becomes scabbed and no hair grows there.

Source: DTE

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