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Foxes

Foxes are mammals and great predators

Foxes

People know foxes for their remarkable cunning. They are regarded as skillful hunters that can successfully spring an attack on unsuspecting prey at a moment’s notice.

Of course, there’s more to them than just its hunting capabilities. If you take the time to study them, you’ll find that they are remarkable creatures.

Let us take this opportunity to go in-depth on the fascinating animal so we can learn more about the characteristics that help define them.

 

Foxes

Foxes can survive in a wide range of environments including grasslands, deserts, and even urban settings. Their resilience can be attributed to their diverse diet. They like to be by themselves when hunting, but they still belong to social groups. Female foxes can give birth to a litter of 3-5 cubs.

The Fox: Everything You Need to Know
The Fox: Everything You Need to Know

 

Classification/Taxonomy

They belong to the kingdom Animalia and the phylum Chordata. They are categorized under the Mammalia class and the order Carnivora.

These animals are grouped into the Canidae family. Also included in the Canidae family are wolves, jackals, coyotes, and dogs.

Foxes are part of the Canidae family together with wolves, jackals, coyotes, and dogs
Foxes are part of the Canidae family together with wolves, jackals, coyotes, and dogs

They are classified under the genus Vulpes. According to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the animals that fall into the Vulpes genus are known for skulls that are smaller and flatter relative to other members of the Canidae family.

Members of the genus Vulpes are also distinguishable based on their tails. You’ll find that the tip of its tail is colored differently from the rest of its coat.

The area around its eyes and nose also features distinctive markings.

 

Size

Foxes are relatively small animals.

Upon reaching adulthood, it ends up around 18 to 34 inches tall. Some species may also fall a bit short of that range.

In terms of weight, the range for an adult goes from 7 to 30 pounds.

 

Habitat/Geography

They are found throughout the globe.

The red fox is the dominant fox species in North America and it has also made a large imprint on Africa and Europe.

You can see red foxes in North America, Europe, and Africa
You can see red foxes in North America, Europe, and Africa

In South America, people are likely to run into gray foxes while exploring the wilderness.

If you're living in South America, you'll likely to run into gray foxes
If you’re living in South America, you’ll likely run into gray foxes

So, which habitats do they specifically seek out? Remarkably, they can comfortably live in different types of environments.

Grassland areas are popular habitats.

The small mammals that they love to hunt are commonly found in grasslands. They also love hunting in those environments because the tall grasses provide plenty of cover.

The small mammals that foxes love to eat are found in grasslands
The small mammals that foxes love to eat are found in grasslands

Many have also taken up residence in forests.

Forests are tougher hunting grounds for them because they also have to be wary of more predators. The trade-off for them is that forests provide a near-boundless amount of food.

Deserts are also suitable living environments for these creatures.

Foxes that live in the desert tend to be nocturnal creatures. That allows them to hunt for food without exposing themselves to harsh temperatures.

Out in the wild, they will burrow into the ground to create dens. They will stay there most of the time and only come out if they need to hunt.

Foxes in the wild burrow into the ground to create a den where they stay most of their time except when they're out hunting
In the wild they burrow into the ground to create a den where they stay most of their time except when they’re out hunting

Increasingly, we are also seeing more move into urban environments. Although they don’t exactly live in the city, they still stay close enough to forage for food in garbage containers.

One of the reasons why they have thrived all over the world is because of their ability to live in various habitats. You can literally place them anywhere and they’ll still have a good chance of survival.

 

Diet

Diverse is an adjective that can be used to describe both its choice of habitat as well as a fox’s diet. These cunning creatures are omnivores that can gain nutrition from various sources.

They mainly prefer protein so they will hunt down small mammals such as rabbits, gerbils, and squirrels. Small mammals are not the only potential sources of protein for it.

The aforementioned predators will also go after reptiles and amphibians that are small enough for them to overpower. Frogs and lizards are notable examples of that.

You will also find foxes that hunt down birds and insects. Some will even approach bodies of water in search of fish to eat.

If they cannot hunt successfully, they can fall back on fruits and vegetables. Foxes will eat berries, apples, and leafy vegetables to get the nutrients they need.

Specimens that live in urban areas have also developed a taste for our leftovers. Those animals will also feed on your pet’s food if given the chance.

Foxes living in urban areas have developed a taste for leftovers
Foxes living in urban areas have developed a taste for leftovers

 

Behavior

Similar to other Canidae family members, foxes adhere to social hierarchies. While observing a group, you will notice certain members being submissive to others.

Interestingly, they remain solitary hunters despite being involved in social groups.

Foxes are solitary hunters despite being a part of social groups
They are solitary hunters despite being a part of social groups

Most prefer to hunt under the cover of night. It is also common to see them out and about near the break of dawn or just before the sun sets as they take like to take advantage of the low-light windows to get the jump on their prey.

They also enjoy playing around every now and then. They may engage in play-fighting with other group members.

 

Offsprings

The mating season occurs during the winter. After a female is impregnated, she will go through a gestation period that may last for about 50 to 70 days.

The average litter size for a fox is 3 to 5 cubs.

The average litter size for foxes is 3 to 5 cubs
The average litter size is 3 to 5 cubs

Both parents will also watch over the cubs until they are strong enough to venture outside.

 

Conservation

Because of their adaptability, foxes have avoided the extinction fears that have plagued many other animals thus far. Red foxes, in particular, remain in large numbers to this day.

The Darwin’s Fox species is the only one currently endangered. Their dwindling habitat is mostly to blame for that.

 

Interesting Facts

  • Foxes can make over 40 different sounds.
  • They like to stay underground with their cubs.
  • The collective noun for foxes is skulk.
  • The average lifespan for a wild specimen goes from 2 to 6 years.
  • Thex enjoy playing with their fellow specimen and even other animals.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Can a Fox Mate with a Dog?

A fox mating with a dog is impossible. They have incompatible body parts and chromosomes so mating cannot take place.

 

What Are Foxes Afraid Of?

Foxes are scared of loud noises. If you see one approaching your pet, run towards it and yell to shoo it away.


 

Conclusion About Foxes

You can find different species of foxes all over the globe and they live in various habitats including grasslands, deserts, and even some urban areas.

In the wild, they will eat small mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and numerous plants.

They tend to live in social groups, but they remain solitary hunters.

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