What do foxes eat?

The subject of whether or not humans should feed foxes, has been a highly controversial topic for many years. Personally, I do feed foxes and have a family of them living in a tree stump in my back garden. I feel very privileged that I can see these beautiful animals every day and if I can help their survival, then I will. The family are wild, and I do not have any contact with them or try to tame them. I put food out at dusk every evening and when I have gone back indoors, they come out to feed.

A recent wildlife survey of 4,000 people carried out in the UK revealed that 65.7% liked the foxes, 25.8% didn't mind them and only 8.5% stated that they disliked the foxes.

During the 1990s, the UK was hit by a parasitic disease called Sarcoptic Mange, which killed up to as many as 95% of each fox colony in certain areas. The fox population is slowly recovering, and more and more urban areas are being occupied by foxes. If ever I spot any signs of sarcoptic mange, then I treat them with a homeopathic remedy which I get from the N.F.W.S. (National Fox Welfare Society). This has helped me successfully treat the foxes for the past four years.

Source

Fox facts

  • Foxes will avoid dogs as they see them as a threat.
  • Foxes generally hunt alone and not in packs as portrayed in films.
  • Foxes will not mate with pet dogs.
  • Generally cats and foxes will ignore each other. It is extremely rare for a cat to be attacked by a fox.
  • In the wild, only 50% of foxes will live for two years. Very few make it beyond four or five years.
  • Foxes are scared of humans.

A fox's diet

Foxes are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. When fending for themselves for survival, they will eat:

  • insects
  • earthworms
  • berries
  • rabbits
  • voles
  • mice
  • eggs
  • scavenged food
  • birds

What to feed foxes

If you do feed foxes, there are many things that you can leave out for them. These include:

  • chicken/meat scraps (without the bones)
  • fish
  • eggs
  • jam sandwiches, honey sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches (it's true - they love sweet foods in moderation)
  • wet dog food
  • dried dog food


Playful fox cubs
Playful fox cubs | Source

Tips for feeding foxes

You may find these tips useful to remember if you do feed foxes:

  • Leave food out at approximately the same time each night around dusk.
  • Scatter the food around the feeding area as this ensures that the food can be shared evenly. Foxes are selfish feeders and this will mean that the foxes will not come face to face when feeding.
  • Only feed a small amount as foxes only have small stomachs, and overfeeding can make them ill.
  • Ensure that there is a supply of drinking water available in an old tub or bowl.
  • If you start feeding a fox, you should continue to do it regularly, but in small amounts. If you leave a large amount of food out each night, they will become dependent and stop looking for other sources.
  • If you notice a fox with mange or are concerned at all about its condition, report it immediately to your local Fox Welfare Society.
  • Never try to hand feed a fox or domesticate it as they need to retain their fear instinct of humans - this is key to their survival.

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Comments 17 comments

shea duane profile image

shea duane 5 years ago from new jersey

interesting

good hub


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ shea duane - thanks for reading. I just love foxes as you probably guessed!


Steph Harris profile image

Steph Harris 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

A wonderfully interesting hub, I think you are lucky to have a little wildlife in your garden and well done for feeding your foxes.

Where I live in the UK we have many squirrels and other assorted woodland wildlife around but the only experience I have of foxes is when my dear dog rolls in their poo. He is far from polite.

I do hope one day to see a fox one day, until then thanks for putting the photos in your hub.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

Hi Steph, I'm glad you liked the article. I love all wildlife too. One of my neighbours saw a badger last month in her garden, but I haven't seen one yet. Foxes have always been my favourite animal, I never tire of seeing them. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your comments.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Super hub, jacqui! Voted up, useful and interesting. You seem to have given us all the facts and advice needed. I must admit I was always worried about my old cat meeting up with the foxes round our way but it doesn't seem to have happened.

As I have always lived in the UK countryside I have seen most of its wildlife at one time or another. I have stalked a foxes den (on my stomach - when I was much younger, I might add!) to see the cubs playing. They are so like kittens and puppies when they play. And I am well used to badgers trying to race my car at dusk or avoid deer when they jump out in front of me. I love animals ... probably more than some people ... lol.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Angie Jardine - Many thanks for the vote up and your kind comments. I love all wildlife and would love one day to live in the countryside - I will need to win the lottery to do that tho! You make me laugh - your last comment about loving animals more than people - I was thinking the same thing when I was writing this article and almost included it in the hub.


LetitiaFT profile image

LetitiaFT 4 years ago from Paris via California

Great hub, I just linked to it!


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 4 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ LetitiaFT - Thanks for stopping by and for the link. The foxes in our garden have just started bringing their little cubs around, they are so cute, but so protective of their young. It is so lovely to see.


Terry.Hirneisen profile image

Terry.Hirneisen 4 years ago from Shenandoah Valley

I recently discovered I have a fox and he likes to watch me mow my pasture. It stirs critters for him to hunt.

He does not seem to be all that afraid of me.

He is a most welcome new guest

Thanks for some good info!


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 4 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

Thank you for reading my article. I adore foxes, they seem to have an understanding of humans, and realize that most of them mean no harm. I am glad he is welcome in your pasture. Thank you for caring.


Missy 4 years ago

We jus found a fox it's a baby it had a collar with a bell on it . It's not scared of people an loves hot dogs . We r not sure how much to feed him an how often but Ty for the info


smalltownlady profile image

smalltownlady 4 years ago from North Carolina

@Terry Hirneisen - We have foxes and deer who roam our property and don't seem to be afraid of us. They fascinate me!


Sarah 4 years ago

I have three foxes living in the brush along the side of our pond - initially we thought there was one. Last night - I saw all THREE! It was precious, watching them as they meandered around the pond, to their den. I live in the state of Indiana, in the US.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 4 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Missy - It's unusual that a fox would have a collar and bell on it. Sounds like someone is trying to tame him. I would give him small pieces of meat or chicken or some whole raw eggs. I wouldn't give them too much, as they may depend on it and stop foraging for food. Hope that this helps.


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 4 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom Author

@ Sarah - that is wonderful to hear. It is so good to see foxes living wild and I always feel blessed to see them so close. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience, I really do appreciate it.


courtney 4 years ago

i love fox


Sybie 3 years ago

Thanks! Here in America we are alowed to have certain foxes as indoor pets in march my grandma who is a wildlife breeder is giving me my first fox kit! This is pretty helpful I grew up around foxes at her home but I have been reading every bit of info I can find to reassure my foxes experience. Also don't worry I am permitted to own a fox and well prepared in America and Russia we rais or pet foxes like or pet dogs they sleep inside and have plenty of toys yet go outside when they need to and always return if you train them correctly

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