Many words are used to describe foxes, but quick and sly are among two of the most popular.
These beautiful wild animals are known for being fast, clever hunters that are, for the most part, quite good at outrunning their enemies.
Personally, I love foxes, and I love learning about them, which is why I’ve conducted some research into exactly how fast foxes can run.
How Fast Do Foxes Run?
Commonly-known foxes, like red foxes, can reach a top speed of up to 30 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour), whereas another popular breed, the grey fox, is even faster, coming in at 42 miles per hour (67 kilometers per hour) when running at full speed.
Why Foxes Run so Fast
Running fast is key to a fox’s survival. It helps them to dodge predators and is a crucial part of hunting for their own food.
Indeed, foxes have quite a few natural enemies, including wolves and coyotes, and when faced with one of these, they need to make haste and get away.
The most prolific threat to foxes is humans. Speed is an integral part of their survival, as they have historically been hunted by foxhounds and humans on horseback.
In some parts of the world, they are still hunted in this manner even today.
When being pursued, foxes will lead their enemy in a circular pattern through their natural habitat, usually forest, woodland, or marsh. The idea behind this is to throw their pursuant off their trail.
In terms of hunting, a fox’s speed is its number one advantage.
Foxes hunt small prey animals by first identifying them and then stalking them down before pouncing, much like a cat.
Should the object of their appetite try to hotfoot it away, a fox needs to be able to lay chase. Fortunately for them, foxes can easily outrun darting rabbits and the like.
How are Foxes Equipped for Running Fast
Foxes are built for speed. Let’s take a quick look at the physiological composition of North America’s most prevalent foxes, the red fox, and the grey fox.
Red foxes are small and lean with long limbs, big ears, and sharp noses. They only weigh about 8 to 16 pounds (4 to 7 kilograms), and they are about 24 inches long (60 centimeters) when measured without including their tails.
Given how light and sleek they are, they are designed for fast running, and they’re exceptionally nimble on their feet. When they move, they usually run on their toes, starting at a trot and speeding up to a full-on gallop.
Grey foxes are even smaller and faster than red foxes. They weigh between 7 to 14 pounds (3 to 6 kilograms) and are roughly the same length as red foxes.
However, they are shorter and stockier, with slightly stronger legs.
Grey foxes are the fastest breed of fox, and their top recorded speed is a whopping 42 miles (67 kilometers) per hour. That is faster than a car’s speed limit in a residential area.
How Well Do Foxes Jump and Swim
These athletic animals are not only good at running, but they’re also excellent at jumping and swimming.
Foxes can leap up to 3 feet high (one meter), but that’s not all. They’re also very good at climbing and have been known to claw their way over 6-foot (2-meter) high walls.
The reason they’ve adapted to jump this high is to allow them to pounce on their prey from above, incorporating that crucial element of surprise.
Combine their speed with their leaping prowess, and you’ve got a pretty talented hunter on your hands.
And while they’re not really inclined towards it, foxes are also good swimmers. They don’t love it, but if they need to get through a stream or a slow-running river as a means of escape, they can hold their own quite well in the water.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Fast Foxes Run
What do foxes eat?
Foxes are omnivores and therefore have quite a varied (and seasonal) diet. Some of their favorite snacks include earthworms, beetles, and other insects, small rodents, birds, and mammals, and various fruits and vegetables. Foxes are opportunists and will eat what is most freely available to them.
Are foxes part of the dog family?
Wolves, foxes, and dogs all form part of the Canidae family, meaning that a fox’s closest domestic counterpart is the dog. These animals have some traits in common, too, including their builds and their incredible sense of smell. They’re often described as having feline traits. However, they share no species relation to cats.
Will foxes run away from humans?
Foxes are naturally shy and timid, and they are instinctively fearful of humans. For this reason, wild foxes are likely to bolt as soon as they spot a human. Even so, it’s best never to approach wild animals unless you are certain they present no threat.
Fantastic foxes are endlessly fascinating, largely due to their unique way of navigating the world.
While they can be a little pesty and cause property damage from time to time, for the most part, they mind their own business and do their own thing, traveling solo for almost all of their lives.
If you’re fortunate enough to see a fox running by, spare a minute to appreciate the incredible biological design that allows it to move faster than most other animals that size.