red fox-vulpes vulpes

Fox

Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) or Red Fox (Vulpes Vulpes)
Foxes are small to medium-sized omnivorous mammals of the Canidae family. The widespread world population of foxes coupled with their cunning nature has made the animal a regular depiction in pop culture. Foxes have partially retractable claws and are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. The typical lifespan of a fox in the wild is one to three years, although they can live up to twelve in captivity. Typically they live in small family groups but some are solitary.

Habitat

Foxes are found on every continent except Antarctica. They can survive in many different habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, deserts, farms, suburban areas and even large communities. They make their homes in the ground by digging burrows. Several fox species are endangered in their native environments due to habitat loss and being hunted for pelts, other trades or control.

Size & Appearance

Foxes are slightly smaller than a medium-sized domestic dog, with a flattened skull, triangular face, upright ears, a pointed upturned snout and a long bushy tail. They are generally smaller than other members of the Canidae family, with the largest species measuring between 9 and 20 pounds, and the smallest species weighing between just 1.5 and 3 pounds. Foxes differ in fur color, length and density. Fur colors range from pearly white to black and white variations.

Diet

A fox’s diet is largely made up of invertebrates such as insects and small vertebrates including reptiles, birds and rodents. They don’t have very restrictive diets, also snacking on fruit, vegetables, fish, frogs, eggs and plants. Most species of fox eat about 2 pounds of food per day, “caching,” or burying excess for later. Foxes use a pouncing technique in which they camouflage themselves in their terrain before using their hind legs to spring at their target.

Fun Facts

  • Foxes can identify each other’s voices and have 28 different sounds used to communicate.
  • Vast Vocal Repertoir
    • Whine - Made shortly after birth. Occurs at a high rate when cubs are hungry and when their body temperatures are low. Whining stimulates the mother to care for her young; it also has been known to stimulate the male fox into caring for his mate and cubs.
    • Yelp - Made about 19 days later. The cubs' whining turns into infantile barks, yelps, which occur heavily during play.
    • Explosive call - At the age of about one month, the cubs can emit an explosive call which is intended to be threatening to intruders or other cubs; a high pitch howl.
    • Combative call - In adults, the explosive call becomes an open-mouthed combative call during any conflict; a sharper bark.
    • Growl - An adult fox's indication to their cubs to feed or head to the adult's location.
    • Bark - Adult foxes warn against intruders and in defense by barking.
  • Fox hunting originated in the United Kingdom in the 16th century and is now a recreational practice in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Russia and the United States.
  • A recent notable case of domestication in foxes sees the Russian silver fox adopting many traits of domestic cats and dogs, letting themselves be pet and even whimpering for attention.
  • A fox’s coat color, length and density can all change due to season, location and age.
  • Foxes are very fast. They can run at speeds up to 45 miles per hour.
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