If one has the privilege of catching a glimpse of this rare and exquisite creature in its natural habitat, it is truly a stroke of good fortune. Thankfully, a skilled photographer has managed to capture the sheer magnificence of this remarkable animal, allowing the rest of us to appreciate its beauty as well.
This unique fox, boasting a striking coat of red and black fur, is classified as a melanistic fox and commonly referred to as a cross fox. The creature is distinguished by a glossy black stripe that cleaves through its otherwise red coat.
The fox’s distinctive pigmentation is attributed to a condition known as melanism, which results in an abnormal darkening of body tissues due to an excess production of melanin. Although many animals with melanism are uniformly black in color, this fox’s striking appearance is made all the more uncommon by its red fur.
The reason behind melanism is a complex gene mutation that results in an increased amount of black or nearly black pigmentation on an individual’s skin, feathers, or hair.
While rare to see nowadays, the cross fox used to inhabit North America, but unfortunately, it was hunted for its beautiful fur. By the 20th century, the cross fox population had decreased significantly, putting them at the brink of extinction.
The cross fox is often mistaken for a red fox, but it has a denser and bushier tail and a distinct dark stripe running down its back. The name of this fox comes from the dark stripe on its fur that intersects with another stripe over the shoulders, forming a cross-like pattern.
The photographs of these foxes were taken by George Turner, a British wildlife photographer who captured these images while in Tanzania. Turner, who was born in the English countryside, initially worked in advertising before pursuing his passion for wildlife photography.
He has earned the nickname “George the Explorer” and is recognized for capturing some of the world’s most remarkable and hard-to-find animals, including these gorgeous foxes.
Please share these extraordinary photos with your loved ones.
Rewritten Source: https://dogdispatch.com/rare-cross-fox-spotted-in-the-wild-with-the-gorgeous-photos-to-prove-it/