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Fox Facts

You will find Foxes on every continent except Antarctica

Generally, you’d expect to see them in the countryside or rural areas. But, you also find them thriving in towns and cities.

There are 12 different species of fox, and the most common are Red foxes and Grey Foxes,  found in significant populations in towns and cities.

Fox Facts for Kids

  • A female fox is called a Vixen
  • A male fox is called a Dog
  • Their home is called a Den
  • A baby fox is called a cub
  • A group of foxes is called a leash or a skulk
  • They are slightly bigger than a cat
  • Around cities, they are most active at night
  • They have narrow faces and long bushy tails
  • They have large, triangular ears which help them hear rodents scurrying about
  • The Grey fox can retract their claws just like cats do
  • They have excellent hearing

Foxes are Solitary Animals

They are related to dogs, jackals, and wolves. They are a little bit bigger than cats and weigh between 7 and 15 pounds. They have big ears with pointy faces, small frames, and bushy tails.

They are very solitary; you do not see them hunting in packs. They like to dig simple but roomy dens to raise their families. A group of foxes is called a “skulk of foxes” or a “leash of foxes.”

Red Fox Built for Speed

The Red Fox can live for about 2-5 years, and at top speed can run 50 km/h (31 miles an hour). Females weigh on average 6kg, with males being only slightly bigger and weighing 7kg when fully grown.

Their tracks are similar to dogs but have a slightly more oval shape.

The red fox species are highly vocal and use a range of sounds to communicate. These vary from the very high-pitched murmuring whines emitted by cubs to the very distinctive triple bark used by adults.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

Vixens use a high-pitched scream, especially during the breeding season.

Are Foxes similar to Cats?

They canter along with a trot-like stride, and when required, they can sprint for long distances. They can climb trees and are excellent swimmers.

Just like a cat, they are most active at night. Their vertically oriented pupils allow them to see in dim light, a great advantage, especially when hunting prey at night.

Other similarities the fox has to the cat. It has very sensitive whiskers. It has a small footprint that generally measures 5 cm in length. It walks on its toes, which accounts for its elegant, cat-like tread. It has spines on its tongue.

Habitat

They are highly adaptive mammals. We traditionally associated them living in open countryside and woodlands. But, they can also be found living in mountainous areas, coastal areas, farmlands, and urban areas.

It has a flexible diet, which allows it to adapt to different environments.

Depending on the fox’s territory, it impacts the quality and abundance of food. In larger rural areas, they might cover up to 1,000ha looking for prey and other food sources.

In small urban territorial, they might simply have 20 to 40ha but more opportunities to scavenge regular food sources.

Excellent hearing

The red fox’s hearing is better than human’s, allowing it to detect small mammals moving underground and under snow, leaves, or other natural landscape.

Foxes have excellent hearing, which helps them find food after dark and detect prey underground.

Foxes have better hearing than humans, ranging from 67 to 45,000 hertz, compared to 64 to 23,000 hertz for humans.

Foxes stalk their prey by listening for small rodents hiding under thick blankets of snow and pounce on them.

Foxes can hear low-frequency sounds and use their excellent hearing to detect prey moving underground. They can detect tiny sounds and will often jump at a location aiming for the prey they can hear.

Fox Diet

The diets of foxes are very diverse. Expert hunters, catch rabbits, rodents, birds, frogs, earthworms, and eat carrion. However, they are not carnivorous – they eat fruit and berries too 

They eat a variety of small mammals, including field voles, brown rats, grey squirrels, harvest mice, hamsters, gerbils, pocket gophers, deer mice, and groundhogs, and sometimes harvest mice, brown rats, wood mice, and field voles.

It is possible that foxes can kill hedgehogs, but there is no evidence to support this.

Related resources 

All about the amazing fox – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox

Living with foxes (PDF file)  – https://www.rspca.org.uk