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What Do Foxes Drink — The Best Answer

Foxes eat a wide variety of foods but what do foxes drink?

They are omnivores that, when fully grown, happily munch their way through fruits, berries, rodents, small birds, carrion, and a host of others besides.

With such an assortment of food choices, do foxes have an equal range in what they drink.

 

What Do Foxes Drink?

In their natural state, foxes drink water by lapping up water from lakes, rivers, streams, and puddles. Urban foxes can even drink from cats’ or dogs’ bowls. Infant foxes drink milk from their mother’s teats. In captivity, foxes can drink diluted Lectade®, baby formula, goat, and canine/cat’s milk.

What Do Foxes Drink?
What Do Foxes Drink?

 

Foxes Drink Water

Foxes don’t drink water for pleasure – they have to. Foxes need to stay hydrated for optimum health, otherwise, their body tissue and organs will fail.

Foxes drink water out of necessity so they will stay hydrated
Foxes drink water out of necessity so they will stay hydrated

To ingest water, foxes lap up the liquid from a puddle, stream, river, or lake. They curl their tongue into a bucket-like shape and hurl each scoop of water into the back of the throat.

In effect, what is lapping to a fox is sipping to us.

Foxes drink water by lapping it up from rivers, streams, lakes, and puddles
Foxes drink water by lapping it up from rivers, streams, lakes, and puddles

One aspect of lapping up water that may surprise you is that foxes accomplish lapping by scooping up water with the underside of their tongues, not, as we do instinctively, with the top. 

This video clearly shows the action in slow motion.

 

Foxes Do not Get Enough Water from their Food

Some creatures, like the desert mouse and other desert-dwellers, get all the water they need from the food they eat.

Desert animals like the desert mouse source their water from plants
Desert animals like the desert mouse source their water from plants

This is especially true of animals that feed on plants (herbivores) because plants contain a lot of easily extracted water in their cells. (Well, easily extracted for those creatures with the biology to do the extracting. You and I couldn’t live off water from plants alone.)

Foxes, except the highly specialized desert fox (called the Fennec Fox), all need to drink free-standing water.

By “free-standing,” I mean water that is standing or flowing on its own, not bound up inside the cells of another plant or animal, or absorbed into a secondary material like a sponge.

Foxes, except the desert fox, need to drink free-standing water and not those bound in plant or animal cells
Foxes, except the desert fox, need to drink free-standing water and not those bound in plant or animal cells

 

How Much Water an Adult Fox Needs Daily

On average, foxes need about 11 ounces of water every day. The number 11 comes from reckoning a fox’s daily water needs as one ounce of water to one pound of the fox’s body weight.

The top weight of most adult foxes is about 15 pounds, while smaller specimens weigh around eight pounds, hence the 11 ounces mean calculation.

 

Where Foxes Find Water in the Wild

In the wild, foxes find water in temporary storage places such as puddles, natural pools, upturned hollows in fallen tree trunks, and the like. Foxes also find water in running bodies such as streams and rivers.

Foxes in the wild drink water from puddles, natural pools, upturned tree trunks, and the like
Foxes in the wild drink water from puddles, natural pools, upturned tree trunks, and the like

Running water is nearly always safer to drink than standing water, but there is no evidence that foxes prefer one to the other.

Fennec foxes, by virtue of their extraordinary habitat (the desert), find water from alternative sources. This is common sense, as there aren’t many pools or water streams in the desert.

Fennec foxes are able to find other sources of water as the desert doesn't have water pools or streams
Fennec foxes are able to find other sources of water as the desert doesn’t have water pools or streams

 

Urban Foxes – What They Drink and Where They Find It

Unless brought up in captivity, urban foxes drink water just like their wild cousins, although they have some exotic sources unavailable to the others.

For example, urban foxes sometimes drink from water bowls left out for domestic pets.

Foxes living in urban areas can drink water from household pets' water bowls
Foxes living in urban areas can drink water from household pets’ water bowls

Some folks even go so far as to deliberately offer them drinks to be “friendly,” but this is frowned upon by most wildlife experts and is generally considered to be a dreadful idea because foxes treated this way might lose their fear of humans and not all humans are at all tolerant of, or friendly towards them.

 

The Particular Case of Captive Foxes

In certain circumstances, there has not been any alternative but for a kind human to take in one or more foxes and raise them in captivity. Usually, this is because the fox(es) lost both parents at a tender age.

When this happens, hydrating the fox(es), even with atypical fluids, is the topmost priority.

If taken into captivity shortly after birth, say within hours, immediate hydration is vital, and in a pinch, it is accomplished by providing the kit (baby fox–can also be called cub or pup) with a mixture of tissue- glucose, glycine, and electrolytes.

(If you have found an orphan and are desperately trying to figure out where to find such things or how to mix them, use diluted Lectade® (a 50-50 mix will do).

Failing even that, use warm–about 100°F (38°C)–goat’s, puppy, or kitten milk. If even that isn’t available, use milk formula.

For the best choice, begin with goat’s milk, then puppy or kitten milk. Moving down, use Lectade®, then lastly, milk formula. Please do not give the kit cow’s milk. Foxes don’t do well with it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about What Foxes Drink

 

Do foxes have to drink water?

All foxes must consume enough water to stay hydrated, even the desert fox (Fennec fox). Baby foxes don’t drink water directly; they subsist on milk, but milk is a heavily diluted fat solution, so it contains copious amounts of water.

 

What everyday drinks must I avoid giving foxes as they might be bad for them?

Foxes could die if you let them drink coffee or chocolate. These drinks contain ingredients that are harmful to foxes. In the case of coffee, it’s caffeine. In the case of chocolate, it’s theobromine. Either way, a large enough amount of these drinks can cause death.

 

How do Fennec foxes (desert foxes) get enough water to drink?

Fennec foxes get enough water for their needs, mainly from their food. Their digestive system can extract sufficient water from lizards, small rodents, eggs, fruits, leaves, and fruits. As well as getting water from their meals, Fennec foxes can lap up morning dew that forms in their dens.


 

Conclusion On What Do Doxes Drink

Foxes in nature drink water. Nature doesn’t offer foxes other than water as a common source of hydration. Foxes in captivity, on the other hand, get offered an array of alternatives, some of which do pretty nicely. For example, diluted Lectade® and canine milk, but these poor creatures also get offered drinks that can kill them, like chocolate or coffee.

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