Fox, Red

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Physical Characteristics

Red foxes are small enough that they can effectively move, hunt and hide in underbrush, but are large enough that they can successfully prey on small animals. They average in height between 12 and 19 inches and weigh 6.5 to 24 lbs. Their tails are a very noticeable feature, often accounting for more than half of their overall body length. Though their coats are typically red in color (hence the name), coat colors can range from grey to brown to gold to black.

Habitat & Diet

Red foxes are spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere and live in multiple biomes. Their diet changes depending on their environment, but all red foxes are omnivores. They will forage for roots, fruits and grasses, as well as preying on small rodents, frogs and fish. In environments shared with humans, they will opportunistically feed on scraps in garbage cans and unattended pet food.

Social Behavior

Though they are primarily solitary animals, both the mother and father of a litter will help care for and raise their young until they head out into the wilderness on their own. Occasionally, a number of foxes will cohabitate the same territory, usually when there is a surplus of food large enough to support multiple individuals. In other cases, individuals will mark their own territory and defend it from other foxes that may prove to be rivals for resources.

Sources

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Fascinating Facts

    • Foxes have whiskers on their legs as well as their face to help them navigate in tall grass.
    • Their big, bushy tails not only provide balance while chasing down prey, but also help communicate messages to other foxes as well as providing a warm cover to wrap themselves in while sleeping.
    • Despite primarily living in underbrush, they have been known to climb trees and temporarily settle in low branches.

Status In The Wild

Red foxes are plentiful and widespread in the wild. In some rural areas, farmers see them as pests that pick off their smaller livestock. Despite a history of being a favorite target for sport hunters, the wild fox population is not threatened. They will live anywhere between 2 to 4 years in the wild. In captivity they have been observed to live up to 8 years.

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