Swift foxes (Vulpes velox) and Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) often use barking to communicate information to mates, members of social groups, and other conspecifics. Barking by the closely related kit fox (V. macrotis), however, remains largely unobserved and undocumented. We observed barking among a population of radiocollared San Joaquin kit foxes (V. m. mutica) inhabiting Bakersfield, Kern Co., California, during August 2002–March 2003. We observed 150 barks, including 56 from two adult (≥1 year old) males, 83 from an adult female, and 11 from two juveniles (<1 year old). Of these, we recorded nine barks, each of which consisted of a series of short, discrete elements repeated in rapid sequence; similar in structure and sound to barking sequences by swift and Arctic foxes. Barking occurred rarely and concentrated mostly around the mating period in mid-December. Our observations suggest that barking functions to contact or attract mates or potential mates and serves little territorial importance.
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