The habitats used by the dog family are as diverse as their prey and it is easier to define areas that are excluded from use than to enumerate the ecosystems they occupy. Only two species live permanently in closed canopy forests, the bush dog in South America and the raccoon dog in east Asia. Both have short legs and a comparatively compact body to negotiate tangled pathways. The bush dog is found near water. Forests typically support a lower density of ground living rodents and lagomorphs than more open areas. "Edge" habitats with a mixture of woods and open country are favored by many canids. Several species notably the red fox and the coyote have benefited from the human conversion of forests into cropland. As noted above several canids, and especially the fox species, live in deserts. For kit foxes living in the arid areas of North America, it has been calculated that the moisture in their prey may be more important then the calories, i.e. they kill to drink. The large pack hunting species due to their mobility and catholic prey habits have the widest ranges of habitats used. The gray wolf s (C. lupus) enormous range includes tundra, ice flows, boreal forest, and the deserts of the Sinai and northern Mexico. However the African wild dog may be even more extreme. It has been reported from deep in the Sahara, from the montane forests of Ethiopia and from over 19,000 ft (5,790 m) above the snowline on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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