You might spy the red fox in the woods or even in your backyard! They live all over North America and have varied habitats from the forested wilderness to the suburbs. They are famous for their raiding of farmer’s hen houses and the prey of the English hunters & hounds, but here are some other facts you might not have known about our friend, the fox…
The fox is a member of the dog family, despite looking and behaving like a cat. They have a reddish coat and a white underbody. Their most recognizable features are their pointy ears and their white-tipped bushy tail. They can grow up to be approximately 15 inches tall and 10-15 pounds. Around the same size as some smaller dog breeds.
The red fox is a carnivore and therefore makes it meals out of other animals. On its menu are small rodents, birds, and rabbits. They can sometimes attack larger prey such as a deer fawn, but they usually stick to prey smaller than they are (i.e. you are much bigger and should not fear the smaller fox).
The fox breeding time is between December and February. Liters of 4-5 baby foxes (cubs) are born in early Spring. The cubs will live in the den without leaving for the first 2 weeks. At 4 weeks old they’ll venture out to explore while their Mom is hunting (like the one pictured above!). At 6-12 months old, the cubs will usually leave the area and find a territory of their own. The picture to the right is a cub that’s about 2-4 months old.
Fox, like cats, are known for their hunting ability and quick strike. They are patient and have superb hearing. It’s said that they can hear a ticking watch more than 40 yards away! If you noisily hike like our family often does…you probably won’t catch the cunning fox in action. The best chances for seeing the fox are when it’s passing through your area, or if you’re walking very quietly. If you do see a den of cubs, keep a safe distance away, as you don’t want to endanger them or instigate defensive behavior from their mother.