Where Do Foxes Live? Burrowing Into A Fox's Handy Hideout

Ritwik Bhuyan
Feb 29, 2024 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Small young red fox cubs near the den.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

When you travel across the country or anywhere in the world, you will notice a lot of red foxes along the way.

Living around the world in Australia, Asia, North America, and Europe, red foxes are known to exist in diverse climates and habitats, including grasslands, woodlands, and even mountains. Red foxes are even found in urban and suburban areas, coexisting with human populations around the globe. That makes them a global fox species that are seen by people of all places.

Red foxes have their own range and territory and make their den their home. They are one of the most widespread mammals found in North America, with huge populations seen in Canada and the United States. Red foxes, however, are not found in areas up north where the arctic fox is found. Native red foxes are wild animals that are not known to coexist with humans; however, non-native red fox species, like the European red fox, do live in urban areas with humans. Red foxes are known to be found in the northern parts of North America and high elevation areas in the west of the United States. The urban fox (European red fox) was later introduced in areas like California, Alaska, and many eastern, south-eastern, and central states of the United States.

Due to many reasons, like deforestation and urbanization, red foxes have lost their native homes and have now adapted to living with people. They live their lives, and we live ours, and unless there is a conflict, everything is smooth as butter. Red foxes live under the ground by burrowing to make holes, similarly to rabbits. The burrow that the red fox species makes is called a den, and foxes can sleep in it, store food in it, and even reproduce in den sites. The entrance to these den sites is round on the ground and extends quite a bit. They are like tunnels in the ground that help them to survive from other predatory wildlife. The burrows have two chambers, one where the foxes sleep, and the larger chamber is reserved for the cubs to be raised in. The red fox species typically makes two tunnels in their homes so that they can escape through the less-taken route in the case of an emergency.

While selecting a home or a den site, a red fox will look for places near tree roots, under buildings, or in dense vegetation areas. Basically, the red fox prefers to live in places with a lot of cover. The dens are made on slopes so that water does not enter their home in case of floods. The red fox or any other species of fox sometimes takes over burrows made by other animals, typically small mammals. Foxes have been seen in rabbit burrows, but foxes do need to extend the entrances a bit. Foxes have also been known to use woodpiles, rock caves, and scree piles as their dens. Dens are used for many years by foxes, and sometimes a fox family might even have more than one den in their home range. Sometimes, a den can be a home for a fox for its whole life, and that shows how dedicated foxes are.

In urban areas, things change for foxes a bit, as foxes live near the settlements of humans. Foxes make their dens closer to settlements than any other animals in the world. They make their homes under garages, buildings, and sheds. Foxes, like all wild animals, are attracted to food sources, so they may find their way toward your house to scavenge food from garbage dumps and trash cans.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about what it means when you see a fox and what a group of foxes is called here on Kidadl?

Common Fox Hiding Spots

Foxes in the wild live in dens. Additionally, they have lots of spaces to hide in their habitat, including in dense trees in forests. Like other mammals, they can escape their shelter in grasslands when a threat is near and hide near trees.

Dense forests and hollows in trees are the best places to hide when the threat of other wildlife and bigger animals is near. They dig burrows in their habitat, which helps them hide better, unlike other animals like dogs that need to run around.

Living In Urban Areas

As foxes make their homes near settlements by humans, they have now turned into urban foxes as a whole.

Making their homes under houses, buildings, and garages, foxes live in harmony with human settlers, and foxes can stay in many different habitats. Places such as baseball stadiums, classrooms, tree roots, flower beds, rockeries, railway embankments, and gravestones have been found to be locations where urban foxes have made their homes. Fox cubs need to be taken care of properly by male and female foxes as cubs come into the world blind, deaf, and heavily dependent on their mother's milk.

Which subspecies live where?

There are many species of foxes living in the world.

The British Columbian fox (Vulpes vulpes abietorum) is found throughout western Canada. The American red fox (Vulpes vulpes fulvus) is found in the eastern parts of the Rocky Mountains, except for the Southern Great Plains and southern Texas. The Northern Alaskan fox (Vulpes vulpes alascensis), as the name suggests, is found in Alaska, Yukon territory, and the Northwest territories. If you want to find them in the wild, the Andreafsky Wilderness, a wilderness area in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, is a good place to start looking for them. The Kodiak fox (Vulpes vulpes harrimani) is found on the Kodiak island in Alaska. It is a very large species.

The Cascade Mountain red fox (Vulpes vulpes cascadensis) is found on the northwest coast of the United States and British Columbia in the Cascade range. Its range extends from southern British Columbia to Washington. The Kenai Peninsular fox (Vulpes vulpes kenaiensis) is found on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage in Alaska. It has soft fur. The Sierra red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) is also known as the high sierra fox. It is found in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and also in the Cascade mountains south of the Columbia River. It is one of the most endangered animals in the North American range. The Wasatch Mountains fox (Vulpes vulpes macroura) is found in the Wasatch mountains of Utah. These foxes are also found in Idaho, Alberta, western Wyoming, and Montana.

There is also a North African fennec fox that is smaller than a cat with giant ears. The Arctic fox has long fur that helps it walk on ice and snow and helps it not lose too much heat. Their tails are also furry, which helps them keep warm in harsh conditions. This bushy tail is key to their survival.

A magnificent male wild Red Fox.

Fox Territory Size

Foxes, like all other mammals in nature, need a lot of different resources to live. Food, water, and shelter are the main requirements needed by a fox in its habitat.

The size of the territory is dependent on the number of resources in the area. The range needs to be away from other animals and predators, like wolves and coyotes. Habitats need to be secure and have several exits in case of intruders invading the area. Also, their territory depends on the food items within it, like insects, birds, rodents, and worms found in the area. If birds and rodents are less common in the region, foxes will naturally have to hunt somewhere else. A fox's diet needs to be satisfied to call a place its territory. There cannot be any other member of the same species except the fox's family in the area. The area can be about 21.5-32.2 sq ft (2-3 sq m), depending on the availability of food, water, and other resources.

Their territory is smaller in urban areas as they find food waste and rodents to make up their primary diet.

Coexisting With Urban Red Foxes

Foxes and humans may coexist quite peacefully as foxes are quite friendly and not considered dangerous to humans.

However, foxes, being wild animals, will always have instincts that are wild and unpredictable. Coexisting is generally quite easy with foxes as they will live their own lives while you live yours. Most foxes are similar in size to medium dogs, so they are also not big enough to threaten you. However, do not go near the foxes and test your luck.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'Where do foxes live?', then why not take a look at 'Fox noises' or 'Fox facts'?

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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