Fox-Description of Cross-Please give a description of the cross fox, also please tell why he is so named. I believe it to be a cross between a silver grey and some low grade of fox but leave it to you to decide.
There are two theories advanced regarding the origin of the cross, fox, but neither has been proven correct and the points offered as evidence in one theory are equally good in the other. Naturalists nearly all agree that the cross, silver and black foxes are merely color variations of the red fox, in other words, freaks, caused nobody knows by what, but for some reason only occurring in northern districts and in the higher elevations of the more southern regions. As proof they show that there are no structural differences, no differences in habits, food, size or general appearance, except the color. They also give as proof the fact that in northern districts all kinds are found in the same family, and a red fox may give birth to both cross and silver puppies in the same litter. The other contention, prevailing more among hunters and trappers than among naturalists, is that originally there were two varieties, namely, the black and the red, differing only in color, but that the black inhabited high altitudes and the cold regions of the north, and the red variety were found a little farther south, or at a little lower altitude, and that the two varieties intermingled and interbred, thus producing the cross and silver varieties. Both sides agree that they all interbreed now, and this easily accounts for the great variations in color and the fact that all kinds are sometimes found in the same litter, but the proof of one theory is also proof of the other. One thing in favor of the second is that the silvers, crosses, etc., are only found in the colder parts, and that is one thing that adherents of the first theory cannot get around. To describe a cross fox would be difficult, as it is seldom that you find two alike, and it would depend also just where you would draw the dividing line. There is a gradual change of color from red to black, and the amount of black or gray fur must determine which variety the animal belongs to. What might be called a typical cross fox has a silver gray body and head, black under parts and black legs and black tail with a white tip, all black parts with a sprinkling of white tipped hairs, dark patch across the shoulders and dark stripe down the back, with a spot of red on each side just behind the forelegs, and red on the sides of the neck. When the red is entirely absent it is usually considered a silver fox, and if there is very little gray or dark fur it may be called a red fox. I think it is called cross fox from the dark cross on the back and shoulders.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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