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Red fox

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Red fox
Red fox.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Vulpes vulpes

red fox
Active red fox.jpg

The Red Fox is a species of true fox of the taxonomic genus Vulpes. They are nocturnal and usually have a reddish-brown coloration to their fur. The Red Fox is found in a variety of prairies and scrubland to forests in North America, Eurasia, as well as northern Africa. They prefer lower latitudes but do venture farther north. They can provide benefits to ranchers, farmers, and urban dwellers by keeping the number of rodents in check.[1] They have been known to live 10 to 12 years in captivity but live an average 3 years in the wild. Red foxes use a variety of vocalizations to communicate among themselves. They also use facial expressions and scent markings for territory purposes.[2]


sleepy red fox

Males are larger than the females. They are about 31 inches long and their tails are around 15 inches long. Their tails are sometimes called a "sweep" because it is tipped in white. The red fox's tail is a big part of their everyday life. It helps them change direction and keeps the fox's feet and nose warm when it sleeps. They also have sharp, curved claws, sharp teeth, and thick insulating fur. Their fur is usually reddish-brown, but can vary from anywhere between red to gray. [3]


Litters are born in early spring. The litter size can vary from five to ten kits(baby fox). Males will fight during the breeding season for a mate. Before and after giving birth the female remains in or around the den. The male however, will provide food for his mate but will not go into the den. The kits are born blind but open their eyes 9 to 14 days after birth. The pups will leave the den 4 or 5 weeks after birth. Sexual maturity is reached by 10 months. [4]


sleeping fox

Red foxes are found throughout the northern hemisphere. They have also been introduced to Australia and the Falkland Islands. Their habitats include forest, tundra, prairie, desert, mountains, farmlands, and urban areas.

Red foxes are carnivorous. Their diet consists of insects, mollusks, earthworms and crayfish. They also eat some plant material such as; blackberries, apples, plums and other fruit. Their most common type of prey includes rodents (such as mice and voles), rabbits, birds, eggs, amphibians, small reptiles and fish. The red fox generally eats around 1 kg of food everyday. When they hunt they usually hunt by themselves. They have a great sense of hearing. [5]They can locate small animals that are hiding in the tall thick grass. To get their prey to the ground they pounce high in the air onto their prey. Red foxes do not share their food, they are very greedy and possessive.

In the winter, during mating season and raising the young they dig big dens. But throughout their territory they dig smaller ones for food storage. To communicate, they use body language and a variety of vocalizations. they have a large vocal range and the noises that they make are; three-yip "lost call" to a shriek that sounds the same as a human scream. another way they communicate is with their sent. They mark food and territory with urine and/or feces. [6] [7]


Foxes are preyed upon by golden eagles, wolves, coyotes, and bears. Humans trap them for fur and hunt them for sport. They are also raised on farms for their fur. Even though there has been issue on hunting red foxes, there are more red foxes now than during the medieval times. [8]Foxes also get numerous diseases and parasites. They can carry canine distemper, rabies, upper respiratory diseases and, ticks, lice, fleas, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and various protozoans. Foxes can be a threat to young livestock, poultry, waterfowl, and small pets. Because of this, foxes have been considered a nuisance. They are shot on sight, poisoned, and trapped. A fox may be chased to exhaustion for the thrill of it and not actually killed in the end. [9]


See Also

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