red fox

Red Fox

Common Name: Red Fox
Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes
Type: Mammals
Diet: Omnivores
Average life span in The Wild: 2 to 4 years
Size: Head and body, 18 to 33.75 in; tail, 12 to 21.75 in
Weight: 6.5 to 24 lbs
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.
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.
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.

Red Fox Information

A red fox has a relatively long body with dense fur. The fur is typically a rusty red color, and the legs are darker in color, sometimes even black. Foxes have black pointed ears and long canine teeth. On their underside, the fur is white from their nose down to their belly. A male fox, also called a “dog” weighs 10-12 pounds on average, while the female fox, also known as a “vixen,” weighs 9-10 pounds. A male measures 54”-78” long, and a female measures 56”-74” long. Male foxes tend to have a longer snout as well.
Red Foxes mate in the winter and the female fox gives birth to a litter of 2-12 “kits” in the spring. The kits are dark gray in color at the time of birth, but grow a new coat within a month. Both the male and female fox cares for the kits until they are ready to leave in the fall. Female foxes reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 months, while male foxes take a little longer to mature. The average lifespan in the wild is 2-4 years.

Red Fox Facts

  • Foxes can jump high fences and swim well.
  • There are 3 color morphs of foxes, but the most typical is red.
  • A fox uses its tail, also known as a “brush,” as a cover in the winter when laying down.
  • Red foxes are omnivores.
  • Fox predators include coyotes, bald eagles, gray wolves, bears, mountain lions, and humans.
  • A fox can live up to 10-12 years in captivity, but only about 3 years in the wild.
  • Foxes make scent posts with urine or feces to mark their territory.
  • Foxes can make 12 different vocal sounds. Kits can produce 8 sounds.
  • Red Foxes are nocturnal.
  • Red Fox pounce on their prey to catch it.
  • Foxes have excellent senses. They can hear an animal underground!
  • Foxes constantly hunt for food. Even if they are not hungry, they will save it for their next meal.

Red Fox Habitat

Red foxes live in a wide range in the Northern Hemisphere. They live in grasslands, deserts, mountains, forests, and even suburban areas. They adapt very well to different environments, but prefer wooded areas the most. When it is breeding season, foxes will build dens and stay in them. When it is not breeding season, foxes sleep in the open.

What Do Foxes Eat?

Foxes are omnivores who hunt mainly small rodents, birds and rabbits. However, they will occasionally eat vegetables, fruit, mice, and fish.