Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes
The Red Fox is a fascinating animal that most people are well aware of. The design of it is one that is often portrayed in movies and cartoons. They are well known for the reddish coloring that is part of their trademark. This red ton can be a variety of shades, and it may surprise you to learn that some of them aren’t really red at all. Instead, they feature a shade of orange or a shade of brown.
They have a coat that shines when you see them and that is why they were once hunted for their furs in very large numbers. They have a long tail that is bushy and it is white at the end. The tail is approximately the length of a third of their overall body size. The males can grow to be about 3 feet tall and the females are smaller with a size close to 2 feet tall. The females weigh about 10 pounds and the males are slightly heavier with a size of 14 pounds.
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The design of the body of this species fox allows it to do very well in any type of environment. The bottom of the feet have pads on them that keep them warm in cold weather and that keep them cool in hot weather. They are tough too so they can be on any type of terrain and not be harming their bodies. They are very swift moving animals which allows them to get their prey and to remain out of reach of predators.
You will notice that they have claws which remain outward all the time. These claws are very sharp. They use them to fight off predators when necessary. They also use them to dig for prey that is found under the ground such as rodents and rabbits. This skill helps them to get the food sources they need regardless of location. They also use these claws to help them dig their dens.
They have excellent vision, eyesight, and sense of smell so it is very easy for them to find their prey. At the same time it is easy enough for them to sense danger and to get away from it. They are nocturnal animals which means they will be active at night. Being able to see well at night is a characteristic that helps them to thrive.
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There are fossil remains that are millions of years old and related to the Red Fox. This gives us information that they were able to thrive through many different changes in their environment. What the early ones looked like though we really can’t say for sure. Many experts believe they were much larger than they are today.
There is still plenty we don’t know about when it comes to the evolution of the Red Fox. There is plenty of speculation though out there about what occurred. Most experts believe that they needed to move from a central location in order to continue finding enough food and shelter. As a result they were able to live in a variety of locations. They are quite versatile and that is why so many experts do want to continue looking into their evolution process.
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The Red Fox lives a very mellow existence in the wild. They spend their daytime hours hiding from predators in their dens. They also put them in locations that protect them from the elements out there. They don’t mind taking over the dens of other animals that have been abandoned either. They go out at night to look for food.
For the most part these animals will live alone from the time they leave their parents. They will come into contact with others when they are ready to mate or when they are raising offspring. They do have a wide home range, so it is common for the Red Fox to have areas that overlap with others. They will explore them though without incident as long as there is plenty of food to go around.
The Red Fox is found all over the Northern Hemisphere which shows you just how diverse in nature they can be. They are known to live in the mountains, on the plains, and in the woodlands. Some of them live where it is very humid and close to swamps. Others live where the temperatures are quite cold. Still yet, there are some living in the desert where it can really heat up.
The Red Fox also lives in Australia but they didn’t get there on their own. In the late 1800’s a project to introduce them to the area was initiated. These animals were able to immediately thrive there. Today the never of them in Australia is very high and they have created an environment that they do very well in.
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Small animals make up the majority of the diet for the Red Fox. This includes rodents, squirrels, and rabbits. These types of food sources are very common out there regardless of the environment where these fox live. They also find various types of small bugs that they can eat hundreds of. This includes grasshoppers, crickets, worms, and spiders.
Their paws allow them to dig for these types of foods that are often under the ground. They are able to move small rocks too and then consume what is under them. They will eat various types fruit that grow seasonally as well in certain areas. When they live in areas around humans they are also known for taking down the animals they are raising such as chickens.
When the Red Fox is ready to mate, it will be triggered by the powerful scent the females give off. The males will be very receptive to those odors and go looking for the females. The males have a sense of urgency as the females will only remain in this frame of reproduction for about 3 days.
The pair will remain together for several months after mating. It takes about 2 months before the young will be born, anywhere from 1 to 6 with the average being 4 at a time. The pair have to find or make a den that will be large enough for them as well as offers protection from predators.
The male is essential to the survival of the young as he will bring the female food. She needs that food in order to create milk that she feeds to the young. Her body offers the heat the young need until their fur comes in. If she has to leave them to find her own food they will likely die.
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The young offspring are often victims of predators once they come out of the den. This risk increases when they leave the parents to find their own way out there. In many areas there are a variety of large cats that hunt the Red Fox. Among them are the panther, lynx, and the bobcat. In some areas where the wolf is still thriving they are also well known predators. Since the wolf hunts as a group it is very difficult to escape from them.
It is humans though that create the biggest predator issues for the Red Fox. As I mentioned, they were once highly profitable to hunt due to the amount of money their fur sold for. There isn’t such a demand for them anymore though so the hunt for this purpose isn’t as common anymore.
Yet there remains several reasons why humans hunt the Red Fox. In many locations it is to keep them out of the chicken coops and away from cattle that they are raising. For others it is simply a matter of enjoying hunting as a sport. Knowing that the Red Fox has a large population, they don’t feel they are harming the species overall when they go on such a hunt.