10 facts about foxes

[1] Our native red fox, a common visitor to the reserve, is the largest of the world’s true foxes and one of its most widely distributed. It is found across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe and Asia, as well as in parts of North Africa.

[2] The red fox’s scientific name is Vulpes vulpes. From this we derive the word vulpine, defined by Collins English Dictionary thus:

vulpine (ˈvʌlpaɪn) adj
1. (Zoology) Also: vulpecular of, relating to, or resembling a fox
2. possessing the characteristics often attributed to foxes; crafty, clever,etc
[C17:from Latin vulpīnus  foxlike, from vulpēsa fox]

[3] Despite its name, red fox, the species often produces individuals with other colourings, including leucistic and melanistic individuals.

Rare examples of leucistic [1] and melanistic [2] foxes, both the same species as the red fox (Vulpes vulpes).

[4] Historically, wherever the British went a-building their empire, they took the fox with them to hunt for sport. British settlers introduced foxes into Australia in the 1830s and 1840s for that very reason. Since then, the Australian red fox population has grown to more than 7 million, one of the continent’s most destructive invasive species.

[5] The red fox is listed as of least concern by the IUCN.

[6] Males are called tods or dogs, females are called vixens, and very young cubs are known as kits.

[7] Their tail is long, 70 percent of the total head and body length.

[8]  Forty-five subspecies are currently recognised; here are four of them:

[3] Sierra Nevada red fox: Vulpes vulpes necator; [4] the Ezo red fox (Vulpes vulpes schrencki); [5] the Japanese red fox (Vulpes vulpes japonica); [6] Vulpes vulpes anatolica, the Turkish red fox.

[9] A fox’s hearing is acute and it can hear the squeaking of a mouse from 100 metres away.

[10] Foxes are omnivores. Out in the countryside, their diet is made up of invertebrates such as insect larvae, earthworms and beetles, and small mammals and birds. They will eat eggs if they can get them and have a fondness for autumn fruits, particularly blackberries. In town, urban foxes raid our waste bins and eat almost anything that we eat, which is not always good for them: the excess of fat and sugar in fast food is no better for a fox than it is for us.

2 thoughts on “10 facts about foxes

  1. Very interesting- thank you – particularly fact four – quite shocking – I still can’t understand that strange mentality- the need to hunt.

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