Red Fox – 29 Interesting Mighty Red Fox Facts (2018)

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29 Interesting Mighty Red Fox Facts That You Didn’t Know!

Red foxes are queer creatures. They live amongst humans and yet various humans might not even have slightest of the idea about their existence in their neighbourhood. They can be adorable, magnificent, equally intimidating creatures. There is a plethora of information one should know about the red foxes, especially when you have spotted one in your neighbourhood. You never know what information comes in handy when you find yourself face to face with a red fox. Therefore, read along to know more Red fox: Interesting facts for kids.

1. Red foxes are the second most populated land mammals in this planet.

Mighty Red Fox Facts

Yes, after human beings, the trophy goes to the red foxes because they are spread over a major chunk of this planet. Due to their high ability to adapt to new environments and flawless skills to survive, they’ve managed to reign over the animal world, in terms of population.

Red foxes are known to a major proportion of mankind because they are spread in abundance in the northern hemisphere. Temperate regions of Eurasia, Arctic Circle, Northern half of Africa, and North America enjoy their presence in abundance. Apart from the continents in the northern hemisphere, their population is widespread in major parts of Australia as well.

2. A group of Red Foxes is named a Skulk or a Leash.

A Skulk or a Leash comprises of the male fox called ‘dog fox’, female fox called ‘vixen’, and the infants are known as ‘kits’ or ‘pups’.

3. Red foxes can adapt to any given habitat.

Well, not literally any given habitat, but they have proven their salt by adapting to the environment of Australia after being introduced to the continent in the 19th century. Plus, due to increasing urbanisation, red foxes have become accustomed to living in semi-urban and urban settings. They’ve adapted to the ways of the humans, their lifestyle and eating habits.

4. The population of red foxes grew manifold in Australia in just a couple of centuries.

When Australia was a British Colony, they brought in red fox in the island nation for recreational hunting in the 19th century. And after that it took the red fox less than a couple of centuries to spread across the continent. Today, the population of red foxes in Australia is a staggering 7.2 million. This huge population is leading to a drastic decline in the population of native mammals and birds in the country.

5. Import of red foxes is banned by law in New Zealand.

red foxes is banned by law

Due to the troubles Australia is facing due to the population outburst of the red foxes, its neighbour, New Zealand has banned the import of the beast in the country. They are a prohibited new organism in the country and come under Hazardous substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

6. Red foxes are not always red!

Despite their name, all red foxes aren’t red. Foxes have different colouration in their fur which depends upon various genetic factors and parentage. The common colour variations found in red foxes are silver, platinum, amber, Samson, grey, blackish brown, and cross. Cross is the fox with various shades of brown, grey, and black on its fur.

7. There are a whopping 45 identified subspecies of the red fox.

Due to the vagile nature of the red fox, they have inter-bred with their counterparts belonging to varied regions. All subspecies do not vary much genetically. Therefore, they are divided into two categories, Northern red foxes and Southern grey desert foxes. While the northern subspecies are large and have a thick fur, southern ones are smaller and are not very densely furred.

8. Their tails are almost as long as them!

Believe it or not, tail of a red fox is almost as long as 70 percent of its body length. The tail is long and is covered with dense fur to provide the animal protection from cold during winters. It extends to the ground to help the animal maintain its balance on the ground, which can be difficult with just its tiny limbs supporting a comparatively large body.

9. The whiskers present on the face and legs of the red foxes help them navigate.

whiskers red foxes

These whiskers help the fox determine its path by sensing the direction in which the air is flowing. No wonder why this magnificent creature has been accredited as cunning in the folklores and fables!

10. They can eat almost anything and everything!

Well, not literally. Red foxes are omnivores and their adaptability to the given environment is also high. Therefore, despite livestock, rodents, and small preys such as voles, hamsters, mice, rabbits, hares, gerbils, deer mice, and squirrels. When they are around humans in an urban habitat or wherever the availability of meat is low, they can survive on plant material such as fruits, berries, tubers, and grass too. Not just plant material, they can eat almost everything that humans eat, making scattered trashcans a huge problem for neighbourhoods infected with red foxes.

11. They mark their territory with their scent and urine.

The age-old folklores and fables describe the red foxes as cunning animals. Well, why not? They are indeed cunning as they use their scent to mark their territory. Generally, a red fox’s territory ranges from 1-3 square miles and any other fox entering a pre-owned territory has to face a tough fight from the owner. They use their urine to let the other members in the group know their whereabouts and to mark the spots under which the hide the surplus catch.

12. Red foxes store food too!

Though red foxes can eat pounds of meat at one go, whenever the catch is surplus, they store them into secret burrows for future. They urinate at spots where they have stored the surplus so that they can easily find it later.

13. They live in burrows called ‘earth’.

red fox live in

While foxes prefer to live in the open in forested areas and only seek shelter during bad weather, in the breeding season, they do seek shelter in a burrow or an abandoned cave. They dig their burrows in well-drained soils, which can be found in the roots of a tree or steppes. Their shelters are mainly to bring up their kits and to store surplus food.

14. Red foxes can grow up into adults in one year.

Red foxes mate during the spring season and the gestation period lasts for about 49-58 days. An average litter (offspring out of one pregnancy) can be 4-6 kits. Though there have been cases when vixens have borne up to 13 kits at once. For the first two weeks of birth, the kits cannot open their eyes and they don’t see the world outside the cave till they are 4 weeks old. They are looked after by the adults in the family for a year and after they turn 1 year old, they are free to go out and hunt for themselves.

15. Red foxes are lone hunters, yet, they prefer to live in groups.

Red foxes are usually spotted hunting alone and are seen as solitary animals. Then again, whenever they have kits, they share equal responsibilities with their partner to look after them and raise them. The dog fox supports its family by bringing food.

16. Every leash has an ‘aunt’ too!

In a leash (group of red foxes), there is a mother, a dog fox, and kits. The vixen who bears the children is always assisted by another vixen who stays back with her in the shelter. This assisting vixen can be a non-breeding vixen or a female kit from the previous year’s litter.

17. Red foxes cannot be petted.

pet red fox

Doesn’t matter how endearing you find them, you cannot pet them. All the innocence that you see in the kits fades away as they grow up. The foxes are wild animals and, hence, they are devised to hunt for their prey and live in self-built shelters. They cannot stay in captivity for long. Plus, it is very difficult to find a kit that is abandoned by its mother because vixens never leave their kits alone. Even if you find an orphaned kit and look after it till it doesn’t grow up, the chances of the fox surviving in the wild will become thin because it is not well-versed with the required skills. Russian domesticated red foxes are a part of developing tame foxes through genetic mutation.

18. Red foxes never have to chew their catch.

Red foxes have a modified set of teeth which has Carnassial or shearing teeth to help the fox cut the food into manageable pieces rather than allowing it to chew its food.

19. Foxes can prove to be great athletes.

If you are looking for someone to represent you in a triathlon, a red fox can guarantee you a win. This is so because red foxes are spectacular at running, climbing, and swimming. Their body is agile to help them catch the quickest of their preys and their teeth are modified to dig into their catch.

20. They have a peculiar hunting behavior.

Red foxes can spot their prey from far just by sensing their movement because they prefer hunting at the darker hours. Once they spot their target, they take a leap of up to 5-6 feet high to land approximately 5 meters away from the target so that it can prey upon it. The short limbs and large furry tail assists them in flying high and making a smooth landing on the ground. The tail acts as an extra limb when it comes to maintaining balance on the ground for foxes.

21. The red fox is traded for their fur.

red fox fur

Red fox rule one of the most profit-bearing trades of today, fur-trade. They are found in abundance and can be raised in all major regions in the world. Their thick fur makes their pelts highly suitable for capes and scarves. Their fur trimmings make excellent material for scarves, jackets, muffs, and coats. Not only these products are highly sought-after, they are expensive and exclusive too. The fur of the silver morph is the most expensive of them all, followed by that of the cross and red foxes.

Amongst all furbearers, North American varieties are preferred by the traders as they have silky fur which provides the user unrestricted mobility. European foxes have a coarse fir, which is of the inferior quality.

22. Foxes are more afraid of humans than humans fear them.

Yes, you heard that one right. Foxes prefer to live in solitude and the primary reason for which they hunt is to eat. They do not look forward to attack a human, dog, or cat but they do so only when they are provoked. Usually, red foxes ensure that they divert anyone who is heading near their shelter. They do not enter houses on purpose and even if they accidentally do, they look for an exit immediately.

23. Red foxes are amongst the world’s 100 worse invasive species.

Albeit incidents of these foxes attacking humans are not many, they have posed a great threat to the native fauna of Australia. Various native mammals such as rat-kangaroos have faced extinction with the spread of these beasts which prey upon smaller animals and birds.

24. World Mythology has the mention of foxes too.

Japanese, Greek, Celtic, and Native American Mythologies are flooded with characters which are either foxes or possess qualities of foxes.

Indian and Arab folklore and fables also have mentions of foxes. They have been described as cunning and deceitful creatures which have gotten their work done by influencing the powerful animals.

All the mentions of foxes in the past have portrayed the fox as dishonest because of their sharp senses and effectiveness in getting their work done. No other animal is as clever as the mighty red fox.

25. Fox hunting used to be a sport.

Fox hunting used to be a sport which was introduced to the world by the British. Foxes were introduced and bred in various parts of the world, mostly in various British colonies, by the British. They did so to have a recreational activity to do in these colonies.

At the beginning of the 21st century, this hunting was banned in parts of Europe (2002 Scotland and 20045 England). It was done in lieu of new welfare schemes.

Yet, hunting of the red fox for its fur and tail still continues in various parts of the world.

26. Foxes too can befriend dogs and cats.

Yes, it’s not just you and me who can befriend dogs and cats, red foxes can make friends with these urban animals too. That’s probably because foxes belong to the dog family. Dog family is huge and it lends its parentage to wolves, grey foxes, coyotes, raccoon dogs, and other relatives.

27. The red fox is the True Fox.

Red foxes are True Fox. True fox is the colloquial term which is used to describe these members of the Canidae family which differ from dogs, wolves, coyotes, and more such species of foxes which belong to the same family. Red foxes are called Vulpes Vulpes in scientific terms.

Other True foxes out of over 37 species of foxes are Gray Fox, Arctic Fox, Kit Fox, Swift Fox, and Fennec Fox.

28. Foxes face a tough competition in the wild.

red fox fighting

Foxes are not the strongest of all animals present in the wild, then again, it is not the weakest either. Red fox faces a tough competition from its contemporaries for food and shelter in the forest. Sometimes the red fox is able to scare-off its competition and other times it maintains distance from the competitor in order to survive in the wild.

Grey foxes and Arctic foxes prefer the same prey as the red fox but both of them are smaller, therefore, the ref foxes can defeat them easily. To avoid unnecessary tiffs, Grey foxes stick to the smaller prey which is not preferred by the red fox and Arctic foxes prefer living in the far north, avoiding any interaction with the red fox.

Coyotes, wolves and the golden jackals are stronger than the red fox, therefore, it stays away from their territories and gets involved in tiffs with them only when the security of its shelter and family is compromised.

29. The lifespan of a fox is of about 18 months to 2 years.

When the foxes live in the wild, their lifespan falls between 18 months and 2 years because a fox preys upon smaller animals but there are bigger animals out there in the jungle which prey upon the foxes. Not just that, foxes often die because of illegal hunting for fur. Extreme cold is also a big reason behind high infant mortality amongst the red foxes.

There you have it!  If you’ve gone through the above list of the Red fox: interesting facts for kids, you know quite a lot about the unapologetically omnipresent red fox. We hope that the above facts turn out useful in satiating your curiosity about red foxes.

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