RED FOX

BASIC FACTS ABOUT THE RED FOX

Red foxes live around the world in many diverse habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts. They also adapt well to human environments such as farms, suburban areas, and even large communities. The red fox's resourcefulness has earned it a legendary reputation for intelligence and cunning.

 

DIET

The red fox eats a wide variety of foods. It is an omnivore and its diet includes fruits, berries and grasses. It also eats birds and small mammals like squirrels, rabbits and mice. A large part of the red fox's diet is made up invertebrates like crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles and crayfish. The red fox will continue to hunt even when it is full. It stores extra food under leaves, snow or dirt.

 

PREDATORS AND THREATS

Few natural predators but cubs may be killed by badgers, dogs, and golden eagles. Most deaths are caused by humans. (Road traffic, accidental and deliberate poisoning, and shooting.)

 

HABITAT & RANGE

The red fox can be found in most of the United States and Canada, except for the far north in Canada and Alaska and much of the western U.S. and Hawaii. The red fox is found throughout New Hampshire. The red fox is also found in Europe and Asia and it has been introduced to Australia.

 

BEHAVIOR AND COMMUNICATION

Red foxes are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as their home habitat. Foxes will eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms. If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically dine on garbage and pet food.

Like a cat's, the fox's thick tail aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail (or “brush”) as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes.

Foxes also signal each other by making scent posts—urinating on trees or rocks to announce their presence.

 

BREEDING

In winter, foxes meet to mate. The vixen (female) typically gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. At birth, red foxes are actually brown or gray. A new red coat usually grows in by the end of the first month, but some red foxes are golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. Both parents care for their young through the summer before they are able to strike out on their own in the fall.

Red foxes are hunted for sport, though not extensively, and are sometimes killed as destructive pests or frequent carriers of rabies.

 

HEIGHT 

14-20 inches at the shoulder
 

LENGTH  

3-4 feet from nose to tail-tip
 

WEIGHT  

6-15 lbs
 

LIFESPAN  

3-8 years in the wild

10-12 years in captivity

  • Foxes can jump high fences and swim well.
     

  • Foxes can make 12 different vocal sounds. Kits can produce 8 sounds.
     

  • Foxes have excellent senses. They can hear an animal underground!

DID YOU

KNOW?