You may have heard of an albino condition that causes both humans and animals to lose melanin, but you may not have heard of melanism. Melanism is of course the opposite of albinism as it produces very dark skin tones and just as albinism in animals produces light skin and fur patterns, melanism in animals produces dark skin and fur patterns.
The cross fox is a wonderful example of how melanism can be incredible to see in nature. A version of the red fox, the cross fox can sometimes be completely black but is best known for a black stripe down its middle back and an additional contrasting stripe on the shoulder blades, which is Presented in the form of (you guessed it) a cross.
The sight of the Cross Fox may be a little eerie for some people, but most people find these stunning animals to be breathtaking.
Historically, the Cross Fox was once considered an entirely separate species from the Red Fox.
It even had its own scientific name before it was realized that they only had melanism.
It is also believed that in the past, Cross Foxes were much more abundant than they are today.
Sadly, their beautiful skins were once coveted by many humans and were constantly hunted for this reason.
It was also once believed their striking appearances were a bad omen!
As a result of both hunting for their fur and getting rid of bad omens, the crossfox almost became extinct. However, in their North American home, they can still be seen occasionally.
The only notable differences between Cross Foxes and Red Foxes are slightly bushier tails, slightly larger frames, and wooly feet.
Get a good look at these absolutely magnificent foxes while you can, as extinction is still not out of the realm of possibility.