People have always been fascinated by foxes. Besides playing an important role in the ecosystem, foxes have even been an iconic symbol of folklore, fables, and world religions. Here are some Foxes Facts about one of nature’s most mysterious, cunning, and elusive creatures.
Foxes are omnivorous mammals. They belong to the Canidae family. There are many genera and species of foxes. There are more than 30 species of foxes all around the world.
Foxes are often mistaken for other members of the Canidae family, including jackals, wolves, and dogs. However, foxes are usually smaller than the other canids.
Although they are related to dogs, foxes do not bark. What kind of sound does a fox make? It is probably best described as a howl that almost sounds like a scream.
Male foxes are known as dogs, reynards, or tods. Female foxes are referred to as vixens.
Foxes can live alone or in small family groups. The family groups of foxes consist of a dog, a vixen, and her cubs. Some female helpers of previous litters will also be part of the family.
The family group of foxes can be referred to as a leash, skulk or earth, but they are most often called a pack.
Foxes sleep and hunt independently. They only stay in packs when they are raising their young.
A fox’s home is called its den. They build dens to store their food for later, and to protect their young from other animals.
Foxes’ young offspring are usually called cubs, pups, or kits.
Foxes have very unique personality traits. At times, their behavior can be confusing, such as being related to dogs but acting like cats— even though they are not related to cats. In fact, foxes are also the only members of the canid family that can move with the grace and dexterity of cats.
Foxes are most active at night. They have vertical pupils that can see in the dark as they stalk and pounce on prey like cats.
Another way foxes are similar to cats is in how they pursue their prey. They will listen to small rodents hiding under a thick layer of snow, and then pounce on them.
A strange but fascinating fact is that foxes are somehow able to use the earth’s magnetic field when they are hunting. The earth’s magnetic field guides them in navigating which direction gives them the greatest success rate when pouncing on prey, regardless of season, time of day, or snow cover.
Foxes can be found all over the world. They live on every continent except Antarctica.
Foxes not only live in nature, but can live in urban areas. They have been known to make their dens in empty lots and abandoned buildings.
Foxes that live near people will sometimes eat dog food, or berries that might be growing in people’s gardens.
The fox is very adaptable and can get along in a dense forest or near human communities. They make dens in places like in wood piles, hollow trees, burrowing in the ground, or under sheds.
Red Foxes Facts:
Red fox is the most common fox breed in the world. They can be found in most of the United States as well. They can live in many different types of environments.
Red foxes can live in close proximity to humans. Some red fox subspecies live in urban environments, aided by their nocturnal nature.
Red foxes were brought to Australia by humans. They thrived so successfully that they are now considered a major invasive species.
Red foxes are among the 100 most invasive species on earth.
Red foxes are well adapted to coexist with humans in many major cities and suburbs, as well as farmlands and forests.
The red fox’s favorite habitat is mixed landscapes, but they live in environments ranging from Arctic tundra to dry deserts.
The red fox’s ability to adapt to many different environments is partly due to its flexible diet.
Red foxes have highly sensitive hearing that when they are hunting for small mammals to eat, they can hear them moving underground and under snow, leaves, or other types of natural cover..
The red fox has an extra digit on its front feet.
Arctic Foxes Facts:
Arctic foxes can flourish in extreme cold temperatures. They may not even start shivering until the temperature drops to -70°C.
Arctic foxes have fur on the pads of their paws. They’re the only species of foxes that do.
The Arctic Fox has thick fur to keep it warm, but it also can wrap its tail around its body like a blanket.
The Arctic fox is sometimes called the white fox, or polar fox.
Arctic foxes are white for 9 months of the year, but turn brown just for the short spring season.
Unlike the foxes of warmer climates, Arctic Foxes have short ears to help conserve body heat.
Arctic foxes are active during any time of the day or night.
The diet of Arctic foxes vary greatly — they will eat just about any meat or vegetation they can find. They will even accompany polar bears, eating off of the remains of their prey. But they don’t follow too closely, as polar bears are one of the Arctic Fox’s greatest predators when seals are scarce.
Fennec Foxes Facts:
Fennec foxes are smaller, about the size of a chihuahua.
Fennec foxes usually have white fur with patches of black fur on the eyes, muzzle, and ears.
They are active and are very playful. Fennec foxes tend to be safe companions for humans as they can be bred and tamed. They will even play with dogs and cats.
Fennec foxes have unusually long ears. Their ears help the fox to hear its prey. They also radiate body heat to keep the fox cool, acting like vents on a furnace.
Because of their ears, fennec foxes can survive in the deserts of North Africa — one of the harshest climates in the world.
The Fennec Fox is the smallest species of Canidae.
Fennec Foxes drink water when it is available. Otherwise, they rely on the moisture of the prey that they hunt.
Gray Foxes Facts:
Gray foxes are able to climb trees.They use their strong hooked claws to climb trees to avoid predators such as coyotes and hunting dogs.
The only other canidae that can climb trees aside from gray foxes are the Asian raccoon dog and the New Guinea Wild Singing dog.
Gray foxes live in most parts of North America, stretching down to Central America.
The Gray fox has cat-like retractable claws.
There are many other species of foxes with a variety of appearances. For example, there is the marbled fox with its gray and black streaks on its white coat. There is the cross fox that is red with spots on its back. And there is the champagne fox with peach-white fur and a pink nose.
There is a large species of bat that is called a “flying fox.” However, this animal is not a fox, nor is it related to foxes.
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