Red Fox

Red Fox

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Vulpes vulpes
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
5-15 yrs
TOP SPEED
50 km/h
WEIGHT
3-14 kg
HEIGHT
35-50 cm
LENGTH
45-90 cm

Red foxes are the biggest of the fox species. Males are slightly bigger than females. Their fur color range is from pale yellowish red to a deep reddish brown for the upper parts and white or ashy on the underside. The legs are usually black on the lower parts and the tail often is tipped with black or white and has tail glands. Their eyes are yellow in adulthood. The nose is black or dark brown.

Cr

Crepuscular

No

Nocturnal

Om

Omnivore

Sc

Scavenger

Te

Terrestrial

Al

Altricial

Te

Territorial

Vi

Viviparous

Bu

Burrowing

Pr

Predator

Br

Bright

Cu

Cute

Mo

Monogamy

So

Social

Do

Dominance hierarchy

No

Not a migrant

R

starts with

Ca

Canada Province Animals
(collection)

Fl

Fluffy Animals
(collection)

Distribution

Geography

Red foxes are distributed across the Northern Hemisphere but do not live in Iceland, some parts of Siberia, the Arctic islands, or in extreme deserts. They live in many different habitats around the world including forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains, having the greatest geographic range of all members of the Carnivora family. They can adapt well to human habitats such as farms and suburban areas, even quite large communities.

Red Fox habitat map

Habits and Lifestyle

Red foxes live in family groups sharing a joint territory. Adults have a home range that varies in size according to the quality of the environment. In rich areas they may measure 5 to 12 square kilometers, being larger in poorer areas, from 20 to 50 square kilometers. Occupants of a range are an adult male and one or two females with their young. Families and individuals live in dens made of earth and often have emergency burrows within the home range. Often the same den is used over several generations. Red foxes may leave their families once they reach adulthood if the chances of winning a territory of their own are high. If not, they will stay with their parents. Red foxes prefer to hunt in the early morning hours before sunrise and late evening. Although they typically forage alone, they may aggregate in resource-rich environments. When hunting mouse-like prey, they first pinpoint their prey's location by sound, then leap, sailing high above their quarry, steering in mid-air with their tails, before landing on target up to 5 meters (16 ft) away. Red foxes have a wide vocal range, and produce different sounds. There are 12 different sounds produced by adults and 8 by kits. The majority of sounds can be divided into "contact" and "interaction" calls. Another call is a long, drawn-out, monosyllabic "waaaaah" sound commonly heard during the breeding season. When danger is detected, Red foxes emit a monosyllabic bark. Kits make warbling whimpers when nursing, these calls being especially loud when they are dissatisfied.

Seasonal behavior
Predators

Diet and Nutrition

Red foxes are omnivores and scavengers and eat a highly varied diet. They feed mostly on small rodents such as voles, mice, hamsters, ground squirrels, gerbils, woodchucks, deer mice and pocket gophers. They also eat birds, rabbits, porcupines, hares, raccoons, opossums, insects, and small reptiles. Red foxes also consume carrion and d this typically only in the late evening hours and at night.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
January-March
PREGNANCY DURATION
2 months
BABY CARRYING
1-10 kits
INDEPENDENT AGE
7 months
FEMALE NAME
vixen
MALE NAME
reynard, tod
BABY NAME
kit, cub, pup

Mating is from January to March. The female builds one or more dens following mating. The spare dens can be used if the original one is disturbed. Gestation is about two months and then 1 to 10 kits are born. The male supplies the female with food while she looks after the kits. At about a month old the kits begin to play outside the den. The mother feeds them regurgitated food and later brings them live prey which they "play" with before eating, which helps develop skills for hunting. At about 7 months old the kits leave the mother.

Population

Population threats

Globally, there appear to be no major threats to Red fox at present. Locally, these foxes may suffer from habitat degradation, loss, and fragmentation, and overhunting.

Population number

Its worldwide population is difficult to estimate, due to its widespread distribution. According to IUCN, as of 1995, the total pre-breeding British fox population was approx. 240,000 individuals. The population in Germany was estimated at about 600,000 in 2000–2001. The ICUN classifies the red fox as "Least Concern", with a stable population trend.

Ecological niche

Red foxes help control the populations of their prey, such as rabbits and rodents. They may also disperse seeds due to eating fruit.

Domestication

Red foxes usually do not make good pets. Well-meaning people adopt supposedly abandoned kits during the spring period. Actual orphans are rare; those adopted have probably strayed from the site of their den. Generally friendly toward people when very young, captive Red foxes develop a fear of humans, except for their handlers, from 10 weeks of age.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • With excellent senses of hearing and smell, these foxes can hear the squeak of a mouse more than 100 feet away. They will often dig in dirt or snow to pursue prey.
  • The Red fox will keep hunting when it is not hungry. It stores the spare food under leaves, dirt, or snow, to eat later.
  • A Red fox's tail measures about a third of its length. In cold weather, it serves as a warm cover. It is also a signal flag in communicating with other foxes.
  • The male is called a dog, and the female a vixen. A young fox is a "kit," "cub" or "pup". A group is called a "skulk".
  • The fox leaves urine scent markings to communicate to other foxes.

References

1. Red Fox Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox
2. Red Fox on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/23062/0

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