This small fox occurs in the Great Plains of North America, from Texas into southern Canada, including Colorado’s eastern plains. It is usually associated with shortgrass and mixed-grass prairie ecosystems, but can also be found in sagebrush and agricultural fields or fencerows. Suitable soil for digging dens is a critical requirement.
Historically, swift fox populations were decimated by trapping, shooting, and poisoning, though populations began to recover in the 1950s. Current threats to this species include habitat loss and degradation through urban development and conversion to agriculture, competition with coyotes, and poisoning of prey species. The swift fox is considered Globally Vulnerable (G3) because its range has shrunk by more than half and its long-term population trend has experienced a substantial decline.