Red fox (Vuples vulpes)

Fun Fact: People that have a fox totem typically means that the person is, or can be, crafty, socially accepted, intelligent, a great listener, unpredictable, adaptable, and very perceptive.

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Canidae

Genus: Vulpes

Species: vulpes


Body and Skeletal Structure:

red-fox-body
The fox’s white tipped tail is what usually distinguishes it from other types of foxes.

red-fox-skeleton

 


Description:

Size:

A red fox can range from being 1.5 to 3ft (45.72 to 91.44cm) long, and typically 2ft (~61cm) tall. They can weigh from 6.5 to about 31 1b (2.95-14.06kg). The males are usually bigger and heavier though.

Fur:

A red fox generally has orange-red fur on its tail, back, sides, and head. It has white-colored fur on its underbelly, chest, neck, and chin. It’s tail is generally tipped in white. The fox also has black-colored hind legs and forefeet, while it’s ears are usually tipped in the same color. However, there are some red foxes that dive off from the normal coloring. There are some red foxes that can be full on white or black colored.

Diet:

The red fox is an omnivore, meaning it eats meat and plants. Its diet generally consists of fruits, birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects, and any carrion is comes across while scavenging.

Typical Lifespan:

A red fox normally lives from 7 to 12 years in the wild, and it’s possible for one to live for more than 15 when in captivity.

Fun Fact: A female fox is called a “vixen,” while the male can be referred to as a “dog.”

 


Reproduction:

Mating Season: January – March

Gestation Period: 49-56 days

Litter Size: 1-13 kits (Average: 5)


Communication and Behavior:

Foxes use a variety of vocalizations to communicate: yipping, barking, whining, and more. They also use facial expressions, some body language, and scent marking.

Red foxes are generally solitary (and nocturnal) animals, but the do occasionally live in small groups consisting of a male, female, and their young. These foxes usually have a main den in their territory. Most foxes, however, don’t have a den, and they will sometimes simply curl up out in the open. Also, red foxes can be partly territorial when they’re defending their territories that overlap with another fox’s. As for kits (baby foxes), they don’t wander off (disperse) to find their own territories until they are about 7 months old.


Habitat and Range:

The red fox makes its home in a wide range of habitats including forests, tundras, prairies, wetlands, deserts, mountains, farmlands, and urban areas. Also, red foxes have actually adapted well to suburban and rural communities. While most large predators have been pushed away from human development, most red foxes stayed around. Red foxes also tend to prefer mixed vegetation communities.

red-fox-range


Conservation Status:

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Red foxes are hunted for sport, though not extensively so, and are sometimes killed as destructive pests or frequent carriers of rabies. Some are also killed accidentally by road accidents and secondary poisoning. Despite this, no conservation measures are in place because they are most legislatively regarded was vermin. However, they do currently have stable numbers worldwide.


Resources:

Red Fox – Wikipedia

Red Fox – Vulpes vulpes – NatureWorks

Vulpes vulpes (Cross Fox, Red Fox, Silver Fox) – IUCN Red List

Red Fox | National Geographic

Red Fox – National Wildlife Federation

Red fox videos, photos and facts – Vulpes vulpes | ARKive

ADW: Vulpes vulpes: INFORMATION

BioKIDS – Kids’ Inquiry of Diverse Species, Vulpes vulpes, red fox: INFORMATION

 

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