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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Red Fox : Facts You Won't Believe!

Red fox facts like they are extremely good runners are interesting.

The red fox or Vulpes vulpes is considered to be the largest of what is known as the true fox category. In the United States, the red fox is believed to have originated from the smaller variants found in early Europe and Asia. Apart from being the biggest true fox it also sets itself apart from other fox species with its ability to quickly adapt to new environments and surroundings. Although called the red fox, their color might be quite varied. The Vulpes vulpes usually occupy territories as a pair or as a family. This is not a rule though. There might be multiple females in the group.

Red foxes have long been associated with humans. They are not a threat to humans, but that hasn’t stopped humans from extensively hunting them for food and fur. Because of their large numbers, they are one of the primary sources of fox furs. But association with humans has also benefited the red fox species. Food, for instance, became much easier to scavenge. And, apex predators generally don’t venture into human-occupied territories.

By the end of this article, you will have knowledge about the red fox Vulpes vulpes (red fox scientific name), red fox habitat, red fox scream, red fox sounds, red fox skull, and domesticated red fox. You may also enjoy the fact files on the fennec fox and bat-eared fox from Kidadl.

Red Fox Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red fox?

A red fox is a fox.

What class of animal does a red fox belong to?

A red fox belongs to the Mammalia class.

How many red foxes are there in the world?

There are tens of millions. The exact count not known.

Where does a red fox live?

Found throughout and exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere the Red foxes or Vulpes vulpes are fascinating animals. It is found in the countries of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Northern part of Africa. Not natively found in Australia, the Red fox was introduced to Australia in the 19th Century by travelers. Australians have come to regret the introduction of the red fox because it has contributed to the extinction and decline of a lot of Australian bird and mammal wildlife species. Their only animal predator in those areas is a Dingo.

What is a red fox's habitat?

Red foxes are highly adaptable to various wildlife habitats. More than 40 sub-species of Red foxes exist in a plethora of different habitats including grasslands, forests, tundra, mountains, prairies, and deserts too. Every habitat has a different sub-species of red fox living in them. When it comes to range red foxes have a varied range from a few hectares to thousands.

Who do red foxes live with?

Red foxes are solitary and territorial. A standard territory will include a single male red fox and one or two females and their offspring. Territories of a red fox may range from 5 square mi to about 20 square mi if the areas are barren.

How long does a red fox live?

A red fox’s lifespan depends on whether they are in captivity or in the wild. In captivity free from diseases and predators they can live up to 12 years. But in the wild, they rarely live beyond the age of four. This is mainly because they either succumb to diseases or injuries or predators. Wild red foxes seldom die of natural causes.

How do they reproduce?

A red fox’s mating preferences may vary from being monogamous to being polygamous. This means some red foxes may only reproduce with a single mate while others may mate multiple partners. A female fox is in heat only for a very short time period and so there is fierce and intense competition for the right to mate. Female foxes mate with several male foxes but usually only bond with a single mate.

The breeding season takes place in early spring or in winter. The gestation period lasts anywhere between 56-70 days. A female red fox may give birth to up to 13 kits or pups although five is the accepted average. A pup when born is helpless and blind. They develop their final color only after a month or so. Both male and female red fox care for their young. The male red fox plays a passive parenting role by providing food to the kits or pups and leaving the female to do the rest of the parenting.

What is their conservation status?

Red foxes are abundant around the world. Their conservation status is Least Concern. Hunting and habitat destruction is their major threat.

Red Fox Fun Facts

What do red foxes look like?

A Red fox is an animal whose body shape is easily recognizable in the natural habitat. Their head and body are unique to the species. Their ears are pointed and they have a snout. They have slender legs and have bushy tails. The fur consists of two layers, the outer layer is coarser with guard hair and the inner layer has soft fur. The most common coat color for this species is red-orange or reddish-brown with white fur on the chest, tail tip, lower face, and black fur on the tail and legs.

Red fox’s eyes are designed for night vision.

How cute are they?

Red foxes have cute faces and incredibly gorgeous coats. Foxes are also very playful and curious animals which makes them look incredibly cute. But unlike dogs, they are not very easy to tame and as pets, they may attack you if you try to capture them.

How do they communicate?

Red fox communicates through scent, vocalization, and through their body language. Red foxes have different body postures which can determine whether they are aggressive, submissive, fearful, or dominant. If they are curious, they mostly stand on their hind legs or perk up their ears. When scared, they either crouch their legs, curve their bodies or arch their backs. Red foxes use a wide vocal range to communicate. Most biologists have divided the sound into contact calls and interaction calls. Contact calls happen when two foxes approach each other or when an adult fox greets a younger fox. Interaction call happens during an encounter that may be aggressive or during courting. Red foxes also use scent to communicate. They urinate to mark their territory and food caches. Other foxes use this sense of smell to determine the territory marked.

How big is a red fox?

The body of a Red fox measures between 26-42 in and of this about 14-16 in consists of the tail. The size of a Red fox can be compared to the size of a small domesticated dog. But red foxes in an urban settlement will grow to a larger size than one found in the wild.

How fast can a red fox run?

The red fox is pretty swift for its size and is also extremely nimble. At full throttle, they can reach speeds up to 31 mph.

How much does a red fox weigh?

The red fox can weigh anywhere between 6.5-24 lb.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male red foxes are called tods or dogs while female red foxes are called vixens.

What would you call a baby red fox?

A baby red fox pup is called a kit.

What do they eat?

Red foxes are what you call an opportunistic eater. They are by nature omnivorous. This means they eat both other animals and plants. Small rodents form a bulk of their diet. They mostly eat mice, rabbits, voles, frogs, birds, fish, eggs, and sometimes even dead carrion. They have been known to eat fruits and vegetables to augment their dietary requirements. Red Foxes have the advantage of not being picky eaters. So they will eat just about anything they can lay their hands on. That is one of the main reasons for the red fox’s ability to thrive in any environment.

Are they friendly?

Red Foxes are constantly wary of human presence and in any encounter will always try to run or hide. Adult Red Foxes in the wild will not interact with humans. Kits who have been abandoned by the vixens or have strayed into human settlements may display friendly behavior. But when they grow to about 10 weeks old, they start to become afraid of human contact. They might even become aggressive if forced to interact.

Would they make a good pet?

Red Foxes are by nature not suitable for use as pets even though they are not dangerous for humans. If a kit is adopted when it is very young it might respond to the human touch. But a kit requires a lot of attention. Kits need to be fed milk every four hours without fail. When they are weaned off milk, they tend to start biting furniture, cables, and leather items around the house.

As they grow older they start fearing humans and don’t behave like domestic pets. There have been some experiments done by some scientists to see if they are able to domesticate red foxes and remove the fear of humans from them. The experiments have been largely successful. Successive generations of red foxes have displayed decreasing fear of humans.

Did you know...

The red fox symbolizes different things in different cultures. They are popular symbols in Celtic, Native North American, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabian mythology. The culture and associated myth may consider the red fox as a positive or a negative spirit or influence.

The red fox is the species most often raised in captivity in the world. It is because of their early maturity at 10 months old. By that age, a red fox will have a high-quality fully formed pelt.

The red fox as a species is one of the largest transmitters of rabies in the world. If a group of red foxes in captivity develop rabies then the entire lot may need to be culled or inoculated in a large-scale activity.

Red foxes are nocturnal and have excellent night vision. Their eyes are specially adapted to detect the slightest movement. Their eyes have specialized light-reflecting layers which are unique to the fox species. That is the reason their eyes glow extra bright green in the night.

Foxes build dens. A den is basically a burrow underneath the earth and is a red fox’s safe haven. Even pups or kits in the wild will spend a lot of time inside a den.

A red fox can hear clearly up to 40 yards away.

What does a red fox sound like?

The sounds red foxes make depends on the situation they are in. During mating season they make a high-pitched, sharp screaming or shrieking noise. It can sound terrifying to the uninitiated. Again, during the breeding season when encountering a rival or when the kits are play fighting the sounds change. This typically unique sound made by foxes is called 'gekkering'. It is a guttural sound full of howls and yelps. And then, there is the short bark used by adult red foxes to signal danger to the younger kits or pups.

Do a red fox's claws retract?

No. A Red fox’s claws do not retract. Red foxes have pads on the bottom of their claws which aides them to move with ease in any type of terrain. They have very sharp claws which always protrude out of their paws. Their claws help them to dig, to fight predators, and to search for food that may be underground.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including gray foxes, or tundra wolves.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our red fox coloring pages.

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