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What Do Red Foxes Eat? A Surprising Variety

If you’ve ever encountered a fox in the wild, then chances are that you saw a red fox (Vulpes vulpes).

Red foxes can be found living in forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts. Others have already made their way into urban areas according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Is the typical red fox’s diet affected by its diverse habitat options or asked differently: What do red foxes eat?

You can find out the answer to that question and other relevant queries by reading this article.

 

What Do Red Foxes Eat?

Red foxes will eat small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and even insects. They also dine on fruits and vegetables. In the wild, red foxes scavenge the carcasses left behind by other predators. In urban areas, red foxes look for discarded food in garbage containers.

What Do Red Foxes Eat?
What Do Red Foxes Eat?

 

What Protein Sources are Included in a Typical Red Fox’s Diet

Diverse is an apt descriptor for the typical red fox’s diet. Foxes are omnivores and are willing to eat just about anything they find so long as it doesn’t pose a threat to their safety.

Meat is a major component of the red fox’s diet and they can get it from anywhere.

While prowling the grasslands, red foxes normally prey on small mammals. Rabbits, squirrels, and mice are staples of the red fox’s diet.

Meat is the major component of a red fox's diet which they can find anywhere
Meat is the major component of a red fox’s diet which they can find anywhere

Red foxes are also open to taking on slightly larger prey. They will also try to take down raccoons and opossums if they need a hearty meal.

Birds are also on the menu for red foxes. Red foxes particularly like to hunt chickens, ducks, pigeons, and robins.

Red foxes will hunt birds like chickens, ducks, pigeons, and robins for their young cubs
Red foxes will hunt birds like chickens, ducks, pigeons, and robins for their young cubs

Interestingly, adult red foxes don’t eat birds very often. Instead, they reserve those sources of protein for their cubs.

Some people would even be surprised to discover that red foxes will eat amphibians and reptiles. These cunning predators are known to hunt frogs, toads, and lizards from time to time.

Red foxes may not be known as good swimmers, but these foxes will still go after fish to satisfy their hunger. They are also content to feed on crabs, fish, and shrimp if those are the animals they find in the water.

Red foxes are also known to wade into shallow bodies of water to hunt crabs, shrimp, and fish
Red foxes are also known to wade into shallow bodies of water to hunt crabs, shrimp, and fish

To further drive home the diversity of the red fox’s diet, this particular animal is also known to feed on insects. Examples of insects they like to feed on include crickets and grasshoppers.

 

Do Foxes Eat Eggs?

There’s one more protein source that red foxes can seek out if they need nourishment. That source of protein is none other than eggs.

Red foxes may raid a bird’s nest in search of food. If the bird itself is not present in the nest, the red fox may settle for any eggs they leave behind.

A red fox will take an entire egg in its mouth and crush it to enjoy its contents. They will discard the shell instead of eating it.

A red fox puts the entire egg in its mouth and crushes it to be able to enjoy its contents
A red fox puts the entire egg in its mouth and crushes it to be able to enjoy its contents

Interestingly, foxes may also take eggs with them after raiding a nest. The red fox may then bury the eggs for later consumption.

 

Do Red Foxes Only Eat Live Prey?

Hunting comes naturally to the red fox as it’s crucial for their survival in the harsh wilderness.

However, red foxes do not have to rely solely on their hunting capabilities to find food. Unlike some predators, red foxes will resort to scavenging if that means getting a meal.

They will go up to a carcass left behind by a different predator and dine on the scraps. Roadkill is also an acceptable treat for these particular animals.

As red foxes are also scavengers, they're willing to eat a carcass left behind by the larger predators
As red foxes are also scavengers, they’re willing to eat a carcass left behind by the larger predators

A big part of the reason why red foxes are regarded as cunning predators is that they will secure food in whichever way they can.

For red foxes, hunting and scavenging are perfectly fine methods of finding food.

 

Do Red Foxes Eat Plants?

Thus far in this article, we’ve only talked about the creatures that red foxes like to eat. Of course, the red fox’s diet features more than just meat.

Red foxes also enjoy chowing down on fruits and vegetables.

The aforementioned animals will eat just about any type of vegetable. As long as they can consume the vegetable safely, they will dig in.

Carrots, mushrooms, and cabbages are just some of the vegetables that red foxes are known to eat.

When it comes to fruits, red foxes are famously fond of berries. They will eat blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and just about any other variant, you can think of.

Red foxes also like eating apples, peaches, and pineapples.

These animals also have a preference for ripe fruits. They will choose ripe fruits over the alternatives as much as possible.

 

Do Red Foxes Eat Our Leftovers?

Red foxes are commonly found in the wilderness, but they’re not always staying there. In certain parts of the country, we’ve seen red foxes move closer and closer to urban areas in search of more reliable food sources.

That development has led to a significant change in their diet.

We are now seeing red foxes rely more on our leftovers for nourishment. If your garbage container’s contents are scattered on the ground, there’s a good chance that a red fox got inside of it.

Red foxes will also eat more than just our leftovers. They will also not miss an opportunity to eat leftover food that may still be in your pet’s bowl.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about What Red Foxes Eat

 

Does a Red Fox’s diet change based on Its habitat?

According to The Fox Project, a red fox’s diet changes based on where it lives. Foxes that live in rural areas mostly eat animals they killed or scavenged along with some insects and fruits. Foxes based in urban areas have a more diverse diet that also includes leftovers we unwittingly provide.

 

Is there any type of food that red foxes do not like?

Red foxes don’t like eating grains. You don’t have to worry about foxes destroying your grain crops even if you’ve spotted them in your area.


Conclusion On What Do Red Foxes Eat

Red foxes eat:

  • Small mammals
  • Birds
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Fish
  • Insects
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Food from garbage containers (in urban areas)
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