- The red fox lives throughout much of North America, from Alaska to Mexico. This animal lives wherever it can find mice, rabbits, small rodents, and ground-nesting birds, including close to man if necessary. Brushlands bordering timber zones and open pastures are its preferred habitat. With the cutting of hardwood forest and its replacement by farmlands and fences, the red fox has slowly moved closer into woodland territories occupied by the gray fox. In some areas, the red fox shares a habitat with the gray fox.
- The red fox is a member of the dog family. It has a long, pointed muzzle; large, pointed ears; and rather long legs on a light frame. The front foot has five toes, and the hind foot has four. The claws are blunt and not retractile. Mature animals are reddish-golden above and lighter below. The legs and feet are black. The long bushy tail is reddish-golden, tipped with white.
- Most of the time, the red fox makes its home any place it wants to lie down. During the breeding season, however, a fox uses a den that may have been abandoned by a woodchuck or another fox. It is usually on a sunny hillside in the open. Sometimes the den is in a rock cavity. Less frequently, the den is in a hollow log in deep woods. The den often has many entrances and long burrows. The grass-lined nest or bed for the young is approximately four feet underground.
- The fox pups stay in and around the den until weaned at eight to ten weeks of age. Then they start hunting with their parents. Young foxes are fully grown in the fall, and each animal goes its own way. By the following spring, these young foxes are sexually mature.
Red Fox Facts
- Mating: monogamous.
- Breeding period: from late January into March.
- Gestation period: 50 to 53 days.
- Birth period: December to April.
- Litters per year: 1. Number of young: usually 4 to 6 per litter.
- Life expectancy: 6 to 8 years.
- Age females can breed: 10 months.
- Adult weight: 8 to 15 pounds; males usually larger than females.
- Feeding period: usually at night, but active also during the day.
- Movement: normal home range 5 to 10 miles; when young are being fed, the range is probably one mile or less; some studies show that foxes travel an average of 5 miles daily in an area of approximately 1.5 square miles.
- Typical foods: mice, rats, and other small mammals make up 90% of the diet; rabbits, poultry, birds, frogs, insects, berries, and fruits also are eaten.