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The 25 Interesting Facts About foxes

Updated on July 25, 2017
Amazing Facts about Foxes
Amazing Facts about Foxes | Source

The foxes are non-domesticated wild animals that live almost everywhere in the world. Though they are very common animals, very few people know their amazing and excellent facts. Read this article to know the mazing facts about foxes.

1. The Fox Species

Foxes are the smallest members of the dog family that are available all over the world. Around 37 fox species are present in the world, but only 12 species of foxes are accepted as "true foxes" that belongs to the genus "vulpus".

The population of foxes is dropped in recent years and around 12 plus fox species are introduced to endanger by IUCN. There have couple of reason, behind reducing their populatio.Some of the foxes were unable to adapt to human encroachment and many foxes suffered from diseases and malnourishment. Also their wild and natural hunters and human hunters are the biggest worries.

• Total 37 fox species are present around all over the world.

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• Only 12 fox species are considered “True fox species”.

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• The 12 fox species are classified to endangered or threatened, by IUCN.

3. Fox Genetics (Organisms and Chromosomes)

Source

Biologically foxes are the member of the Canidae family, of carnivorous that includes domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and many other extant and extinct dog-like mammals. The Australian Dingo and Indian Dhole are the new members of carnivorous family and been considered as a separate subspecies.
All these carnivorous has same chromosome pairs within their sub species, like all the wolf (including dingo), coyote, jackal, and domestic dogs have 78 chromosomes arranged in 39 pairs. But fox subspecies have different chromosome pair counts, Like the Indian foxes have the chromosome number 2n=64, Gray Foxes have chromosome number 2n=74, Red Foxes chromosome varies between 2n=34.

• Foxes are the only Canid family members that have multiple genetic orders, their chromosome pair counts vary, between Fox species.

Canidae members chromosomes count

Canid Species
Scientific name
Chromosome pairs
Wolves
Canis lupus
2n=78 (39 Pairs)
Coyote
Canis latrans
2n=78 (39 Pairs)
Jackals
Canis aureus
2n=78 (39 Pairs)
Dogs
Canis lupus familiaris
2n=78 (39 Pairs)
African wild dog
Lycaon pictus
2n=78 (39 Pairs)
Fox
Vulpes
2n=34 to 72 (17 -36 Pairs)

• The Red foxes have list chromosome count (17 pairs) among fox species and Tibetan and cape foxes have max chromosome pairs (36 pairs).

Fox chromosomes count

Fox Species
Scientific name
Chromosome pairs
Cape Foxes
Vulpes chama
2n=72 (36 Pairs)
Tibetan Fox
Vulpes ferrilata
2n=72 (36 Pairs)
Gray Fox
Urocyon cinereoargenteus
2n=66 (33 pairs)
Fennec Fox
Vulpes zerda
2n=64 (32 pairs)
Indian Foxes
Vulpes bengalensis
2n=60 (30 pairs)
Kit Fox
Vulpes macrotis
2n=50 (25 Pairs)
Red Foxes
Vulpes vulpes
2n= 34 (17 Pairs), + 3-5 microsomes

3. Male and Female Foxes

Male and Female Foxes
Male and Female Foxes | Source

• The Male fox is called: “Toad or Dog Fox” and Female fox is called: “Vixen”.

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• The group of foxes is called a skulk or leash.

Usually the male and female have the same name for any species but Canid carnivores male and female are known with diff names and male members of fox species are known as “Reynard, dog, dog fox, or Tod” and females are known as “Vixen” and fox babies are called kit, cub or pup. The group of foxes is called a skulk or leash. Below are the different names for male, famale, and babies of canid species.

Fox Family

Canid Species
Male
Female
Babies
Fox
Reynard, dog, dog fox, or Tod
Vixen
kit, cub, pup

Canid Members Family

Canid Species
Male
Female
Babies
Coyote
dog
bitch
pup, whelp
Wolf
dog
bitch
pup, whelp
Hound
dog
bitch
pup
Dog
dog
bitch
pup

4. Fox Breeding and Reproduction

The fox couples (The pair of red foxes)
The fox couples (The pair of red foxes) | Source

Usually, the foxes live alone but some Foxes also lives in small or medium pack like other canids members, dog, wolf, coyote and jackals. For the fox species, living in a pack - the only dominant females fox mate and have pupps. Other pack members assist them to grooming and nursing the pups. And for some the fox species, male foxes are responsible to care and protect the pups like Asiatic wild dogs.

Female fox dominating other Female Fox of pack
Female fox dominating other Female Fox of pack | Source

• The foxes that live in a small pack, the only dominant female fox mate and rest pack members help her to groom the pups.

Male Fox Fight to protect their mating partner, from other male foxes
Male Fox Fight to protect their mating partner, from other male foxes | Source

• The single living foxes, make mating partners. Once a pair mate, they will start mating every year with each other and won’t mate with other foxes out there.

Usually, the foxes live in the small pack but many fox species live alone, and they gather together to hunt the prey. Usually the single living foxes make a mating partner and they mate only with their partner, usually mating session begins in the month of January. At this time of year, foxes will travel around the most and can be heard calling for a mate. And once they get their mate then they mate with same partner every year and won’t mate with other foxes out there. It’s very common to see fox fighting to prove their superiority and get a mating partner for them. Also, some fox fights to protect their mating partner from other single males.

5. Friendly and Social Animal

Mother Fox Feeding and Caring pups
Mother Fox Feeding and Caring pups | Source

• The foxes are very social animals, which are friendly and make good pets.

Foxes are very social animals that live in a small pack and care their pups together. The Female Fox protects her pups and male fox brings food for them. Usually litter range between 5 to 7 pups that can be up to 11 pups. The Pups are born blind and they open their eyes after 9-10 days, till the time they are fully dependent to their mother. Fox parents care their pus till the age of 6 months and after that they train them for a month to survive alone, before getting separated.

Also foxes are friendly and playful animals, which are easy to domesticate and make good pets. They do not attack humans and easily accept the companion of other pets, like dog, cat or birds.

6.Habitat

Fox living in wild
Fox living in wild | Source

Foxes are the only members of Canidae family that make their homes by digging burrows in the ground, called dens.

The fox living in urban areas
The fox living in urban areas | Source

Foxes are wild animals that live in forested, mountains, grasslands and deserts Foxes are the only canid family member that make their homes by digging burrows in the ground, called dens. Fox dense are the best used to store food and keep their pups safe inside. In urban areas, they can live under porch or deck also.

7. LifeSpan

The fox life span
The fox life span | Source

Mortality rate of Foxes is very high, the 50% fox pups die before the age of 10 months.

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The average life Span of foxes is 3 years in wild but they can live up-to 20 years in Captivity.

The Mortality rate of Foxes is very high, the 50% fox pups die before the age of 10 months.Fox lifespan in very short, they live appx. 3 years in wild and 10-12 years in captivity. Even some domesticated fox have lived till 20 years.

8. Uses Magnetic Sense to hunt

The Fox Magnetic Sense to Hunt
The Fox Magnetic Sense to Hunt | Source

Foxes mostly jump in a north-easterly direction to hunt their prey in the snow.They use the compass-like sense of direction to identify the prey.

Foxes mostly jump in a north-easterly direction to hunt their prey in snow, during the winter.
Foxes mostly jump in a north-easterly direction to hunt their prey in snow, during the winter.

Firstly, this was observed by the Robert Krulwich ( Czech scientist Jaroslav Cerveny) that the red-fox mostly jump in a north-easterly direction to hunt their prey in the snow, during the winter. They use compass-like sense of direction to identify the prey. Foxes are not the only animals that have the magnetic sense. Some other animals like Dogs also have the magnetic sense, you may observe that dogs also align their bodies to north-south direction, to poop.

9. The Fox ears and hearing range

Source

A fox can here sounds up to 65,000Hz, which is much better than human, who have around 22,000Hz.

The fox can hear sounds up to 65,000Hz at a range of up to 160 feet that is

greatly better than humans, whose hearing tops out around 22,000Hz at best.

- Fox can hear a underground rodent

- Some foxes like Cape fox (Bat eared fox), Fennec fox have ears bigger than 5 inches. Taht can hear insects.

10.Excellent athletics

Running Fox
Running Fox | Source

Foxes are small, or small to medium sized animals that have long, athletic and slender legs and light bones that help them to run fast. They are faster than dog, coyote and jackal and wolf and some of the faxes can go faster than tiger or leopards. Though the average running speed of a fox is 32 MPH, but they can reach up-to 42 MPH. The Gray foxes are the fastest running foxes that have an average speed of 42 MPH.

Canid Family Members
Running Speed
Jackals
Up to - 20 MPH
Dog
Avg 20-30 MPH
Dhole (Indian Wild Dog)
Up to - 42 MPH
Racing Dogs (sight-hound)
Up to - 45 MPH
African Wild Dog
Up to - 45 MPH
Coyote
Up to - 43 MPH
Wolf
Up to - 37 MPH
 
 
Fastest Running Wild Animals
Running Speed
Cheetah
Up to - 75 MPH
Leopard
Up to - 36 MPH
Tiger
Up to - 40 MPH
Lion
Up to - 50 MPH
 
 
Foxes
Running Speed
Red Fox
Up to - 31 MPH
Gray Fox
Up to - 42 MPH
Other Foxes Average speed
Average 32 MHP

11. Vocal Communication

The fox communication
The fox communication | Source

The Foxes don't bark they make the voice like chuckling that is called a “Gekker”. They also make a high pitch howl, like coyotes.

Foxes do not bark or howl like dogs and wolves, rather they make the voice like chuckling that is called a “Gekker”. Their vocalizations also include a high pitch howl like coyotes, whimpers and snuffing noises. Sometimes they make the vocal communication that sounds like a crying human baby.

12. Fox Traits like Cat

Cat and Fox, have many similar trails
Cat and Fox, have many similar trails | Source

The foxes are nocturnal that became more active at nights like cats, though they are the candid family members of carnivores, which share the couple of cats like traits and hunt at nights like by stalking and pouncing on its prey, like cats. They have these below traits, very likely to the cats-

Foxes can retract their Claws like Cats.

The similar claws of cat and fox
The similar claws of cat and fox | Source

- Foxes became more active at nights, like cats. They like to hunt at night and are nocturnal.

Source

Fox eyes have vertically slit pupils and excellent eyesight, like cats.

Foxes have great eyesight, like cats.
Foxes have great eyesight, like cats. | Source

13. Sleeping safe

The foxes sleeping on tree like cats
The foxes sleeping on tree like cats | Source

Foxes are the only canid members that can sleep on the tree like cats.

The foxes are the only Canidae family members that can climb trees and sometimes they take a nap in the tree, They get that a safe and relaxing place.

14. Skill to Climb on Tree

Gray Foxes on Tree
Gray Foxes on Tree | Source

The Gray Foxes are the best tree climber among all the fox species.

The most of the foxes are able to climb on the trees but the gray foxes are the most expert tree climber. They are capable to climbs 90-degree tree trunks and can make its den 30 feet off the ground.

15. Height and Weight

The Smallest and largest Fox
The Smallest and largest Fox | Source

The Fennec foxes are the smallest fox species that can have weight as low as 0.7 kgs and Northern Alaskan foxes are the biggest foxes that can weigh up to 14.00 kgs.

The weight of foxes vary between 0.7 Kg to 4 Kgs. The fennec foxes are the smallest fox species in the world that have, weight in between "0.7 to 1.6 kg" and Northern Alskan foxes are the largest fox species that have average weight in between, 2.7–6.8 kg and can have weight up-to 14.00 kgs.

16. The Fox Coats and Colors

Source

The bright reddish-rusty with yellowish is the most common color of the fox. They can have short or long fur.

Red Fox color variations

Red Fox color variations
Red Fox color variations | Source

Rare fox Colors

Russian Domesticated fox (Red Fox Color Mutation)
Russian Domesticated fox (Red Fox Color Mutation) | Source

Apart from their usual colors, some foxes can have black, silver or a cross between red and silver, color that are known as "cross fox". Some Russian pet foxes are also available in white and black spotted colors.

17. Domesticated Russian Fox

 Russian Domesticated Foxes
Russian Domesticated Foxes | Source

The Russian domesticated red fox is a domesticated form of the red fox.

The project for domestication of foxes was started before 55 years, by a Soviet geneticist and still continues today and led by Lyudmila Trut. This was an experiment of selective breeding to develop the domestication foxes as pets.

18. Bones of Foxes

Fox bones are 30% lighter than Dogs
Fox bones are 30% lighter than Dogs | Source

The bones of foxes are 30% lighter than the same sized bone of the dog.

The bone of Foxes is lighter than other canid family members like Wolf, Coyote or dog. While comparing the same size, bone of a fox and dog, the fox bone will be 30% lighter than dogs. That helps then gain high running speed and flexibility.

Source

Foxes are naturally more stubborn than dogs.

Foxes are wild animals that are shy and nervous as pets and they do not fare well as domestic pets and they are naturally more stubborn than dogs.

19. The Long Tail

The fox Tail
The fox Tail | Source

The tail of foxes is longer than half the body length that is, 70 per cent of head and body length.

The fox tail give protection to survive the winter
The fox tail give protection to survive the winter

The foxes have the longest tail among canid family members that is longer than half the body length that is, 70 per cent of head and body length. Foxes can wrap their body and face by their tail that gives protection to survive the winter. The Fennec foxes have the smallest tail (20 cm) and Red Foxes have the longest tails can be up-to 56 cm.

  • Fennec fox: 18 – 31 cm (The shortest Tail among fox species)
  • Arctic fox: 31 cm (Average fox tail length)
  • Red fox: 30 – 56 cm (The longest Tail)

20. Relying on tails

Source

The foxes rely on their tails for balance and communication.

The foxes rely on their tails for balance while hunting, jumping or even fighting.
The foxes rely on their tails for balance while hunting, jumping or even fighting.

The foxes rely on their tails for balance, communication. They move their tails while hunting, jumping or even fighting, to balance their body. Also, they use their tail to balance their body weight while climbing on tree or sleeping on the tree.You may notice to above pictures, when they jump and fight, their tail is in same positions.

21. Fox Spirits - Japanese Folklore

Fox Spirits - Japanese Folklore
Fox Spirits - Japanese Folklore | Source

The foxes are depicted in Japan, as a symbol of intelligence that possesses the magical abilities and can shift their shape into human form.

Kitsune are from Japanese folklore, taken from the Japanese word for foxes, according to Japanese believe the fox spirit arived to Japan in seventh century. And since then, people in Japan depict them as intelligent beings that possess magical abilities. According to Japanese Yokai folklore, foxes have the ability to change their shape into human form. Japanese people believe that the Japanese foxes have additional boons than their Chinese sister foxes. Which are classified and known as,

Kitsune: The standard term for a spirit fox.
Youko: Spirit Fox, an uncommon term.
Myobu: The Celestial fox, which is sworn to Inari's service.

22. Fox-spirit in Chinese folklore

The Fox-spirit in Chinese folklore
The Fox-spirit in Chinese folklore | Source

Nine-tailed foxes appear in Chinese folklore that is depicted as a familiar spirit possessed of magic powers.

Nine Tailed fox in Chinese Folklore

Nine Tailed fox in Japanese Folklore
Nine Tailed fox in Japanese Folklore | Source

Nine-tailed foxes appear in Chinese folklore which is depicted as a familiar spirit possessed of magic powers and depending on the tale that can be a good or a bad omen. The Fox spirit is a common motif in the mythology of East Asian countries, depicted in various forms like,

- Húli jīng: The fox spirit in China
- Kitsune: Fox spirit in Japan
- Kumho: The nine-tailed fox, in Korea.

23. The Fox village

Japan's Fox Paradise
Japan's Fox Paradise | Source

Japan’s Zao Fox Village is the only place where thousands of foxes from 6 different fox species, live together.

You must have seen the farm of cattle, horse or dog or the island of the cats or Bunny. But Japan’s Zao Fox Village is the only place where thousands of foxes live together. Around six different fox species are living in this village and are an attraction for locals and tourists in Japan.

24. Fox Portraits

Source

Fox's face is usually portrayed as a cunning face. The most famous an old adage is 'As cunning as a fox".

The foxes are the close relative of both the wolf and dog, whether the dogs has a reputation as an honest, devoted companion, the foxes have developed a reputation for slyness and manipulation. And foxes are commonly considered as a symbol of wise and cunning personality and their face and eyes are usually portrayed as a cunning face. The most famous an old adage is 'As cunning as a fox".

25. The Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie

The Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie
The Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie | Source

The "Fantastic Mr. Fox", is the most popular American animated comedy film of a clever and well-dressed fox.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, is one of the most popular American stop-motion animated comedy film that was released in the year 2009. The movie is based on the classic book by Roald Dahl's children's novel and Directorected by Wes Anderson. This movie was released in the same year, when Danny Boyle’s, India movie “Slumdog Millionaire” become a big hit.

© 2017 ARADHYA

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    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 4 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      WOW! You have done a fantastic job with this hubpage! Having owned Arctic, Grey, Red, and Silver foxes I really appreciate the time and effort you've put into this. Did you know when I lived in New York 20 years ago it was legal to own them without a permit because they are classified as farm animals due to the number of fox farms that used to be present in NY state. I imagine that is still the case, of course you had to have proof they were not obtained from the wild.

      Well done.