Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Description

Usually a deep reddish brown with black legs and a white tip to the tail. The eyes of adults are yellow in color. Red foxes are the largest of the foxes. Males are a little larger than females. Red foxes live on average 3 years in the wild but can survive more than 10 years in captivity. They are mostly solitary except during breeding and when rearing young.

Habitat

The red fox can be found throughout most of the northern hemisphere, they have also been introduced to Australia and the Falkland Islands. They can live in a wide variety of habitats, including forest, tundra, prairie, desert, mountains and even urban areas. Foxes will dig a den for shelter but they also take over dens of rabbits.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Red foxes are carnivores, but will on occasion eat plant material. Their diet consists mostly of rodents, rabbits and insects. They will also eat fruit and carrion. This species stores food in caches, occasionally relocating them to prevent other predators and scavengers from finding them.

Reproduction

Breeding varies based on location; Southern populations breed in December-January, Central populations breed in January-February, Northern populations breed in February-April. A female will give birth to a litter of about 5 kits after 51-53 days after breeding. Before and after kits are born the female remains in or close to the den while the male partner provides her with food. The kits begin wandering out of the den at 4-5 weeks old and are fully weaned by 10 weeks old. Red fox kits remain with their mother until the fall and they reach maturity at 10 months old.

Months and Times of Activity

The red fox can be nocturnal (active mostly at night) or crepuscular (active mostly in the early morning and late evening).

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

References

Fox, D. 2007. "Vulpes vulpes" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 04, 2014 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Vulpes_vulpes/