Animals

Foxes: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

One of the unique facts about foxes is that they have pointy ears and beady eyes
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Foxes are curious, playful, and cunning animals, which you can find in almost every continent (the only exception is Antarctica). These animals are often confused with a coyote or a wolf, and even with dogs. They vary largely in appearance and behaviour. These animals are omnivorous and prey on birds, rodents, and even fruits. They occupy a den while they sleep. They can be seen in various underground burrows, especially during  mating season, or while they raise their babies.

These are solitary creatures that pounce on their prey like an agile cat. They belong to the same family as dogs. Among the fox family, there are more than thirty different sub-families. Red fox species are the most common ones, while a fennec fox is the smallest one. These animals are known for their playful attitude and can steal your golf balls from your backyard! As for domestication, a fox is a very sweet-tempered pet. They are not usually aggressive unless manhandled.

You may also check out the fact files on red wolf and tundra wolf.

About foxes

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Lizards, fish, berries, rabbits, fruits

What do they eat?

Omnivore

Average litter size?

4-5

How much do they weigh?

5-24 lb (2.2 kg-10.8 kg)

How long are they?

12-25 in (31 cm-63 cm)


How tall are they?

9-16 in (22 cm-40 cm)


What do they look like?

Reddish yellow, dark orange/red, black

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Humans, loss of habitat

What is their conservation status?

Island fox: Near Threatened Darwin's fox: Endangered

Where you'll find them

Grasslands, forests, mountains, deserts

Locations

North America, Australia, Asia, South America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammal

Scientific Name

Red fox: Vulpes vulpes Andean fox: Lycalopex culpaeus Arctic fox: Vulpes lagopus Forest fox: Cerdocyon thous

Family

Canidae

Genus

Canis

Foxes Interesting Facts

What type of animal are foxes?

Foxes are medium-sized animals (a few species are small-sized), which are known for their cunning nature. They are cousins to jackals and wolves. These omnivorous animals resemble dogs in appearance, but they stand out in their unique appearance.

What class of animal do foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the class of Mammalia. Their family is Canidae, and there are more than 40 sub-species to this family. Dogs also belong to the same family, thus justifying the resemblance.

How many foxes are there in the world?

There are various types of foxes, almost as many as 37 species. Among all these, there are only 12 that can be genuinely considered a true fox! There are some species that are abundant in numbers, but some of them are endangered too.

On the one hand, red foxes are the most abundant of them all. The number of red foxes is estimated somewhere around 258,000. But on the other hand, the population of Darwin's fox ranges between 659-2499. Their population is continuously decreasing. Similarly, the population of Hoary fox ranges between 9840-19,200 (according to a report published in March 2019)

Where do foxes live?

Foxes can be found in almost every type of habitat. From grasslands and forests to mountains and deserts, and even the tundra region, foxes can be found anywhere. A red fox usually prefers a mixed form of landscape. However, these animals are known to adjust well if put in human environments like farms.

What is a foxes' habitat?

Foxes live in a wide range of landscapes. The United States is called home by at least three fox species. It is home to the gray fox, the kit fox, and the red fox. The arctic fox is abundant in Canada, Iceland Russia, and especially Siberia. Africa is known for being the home to one particular species of fox called the desert fox. Desert foxes also reside in Arabia and parts of the Middle East.  

Who do foxes live with?

These animals are solitary in nature. They do not live in packs, except in specific situations. These animals are found in small groups when they are raising their babies. Such a group of foxes will be termed as a skulk. They live in a den during this time.

How long do foxes live?

The average lifespan of fox species is reported to be ten years. However, in urban areas these animals are observed to live longer.

How do they reproduce?

Foxes are monogamous in nature. The gestation period for a vixen is about 52 days. At a time, a vixen can give birth to four cubs, and at times even five. But this number varies with each species. An arctic fox, for example, can give birth to even eleven cubs at a time. Similarly, red foxes can have up to six cubs at a time. During the breeding period, however, it is common for all foxes live in a den.

What is their conservation status?

The community of foxes is generally denoted as Least Concern. But there are many sub-families under foxes, each of them having different conservation statuses. The red fox species (Vulpes vulpes) is the most common one and is also tagged as Least Concern. Similarly, Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) o, the South American gray fox  (Lycalopex griseus) are also tagged to be Least Concern. But the Darwins fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) is considered to be Endangered. Moreover, the Island fox (Urocyon littoralis) and the Sechuran fox (Lychalopex sechurae) are tagged as Near Threatened.

Foxes Fun Facts

What do foxes look like?

A fox curls its tail while it sleeps.

The appearance of a fox is marked by some unique features. These include a flat skull, pointy ears that resemble a triangle, and a snout that is slightly upright. Some fox species have a tipped tail, like the red fox species. The red fox has bushy tails which are very long. The appearance of the foxes changes with their families. The red fox species have tails with white tips. The bat-eared fox, on the other hand, has a grizzled appearance. A bat-eared fox is named so because of its distinct resemblance to a bat. Many times certain dogs resemble the features of a fox so much so that they can be easily confused.

How cute are they?

Foxes can be very cute to look at. There are specific fox species, like the Arctic fox, which are even more adorable. Arctic foxes have white fur all over their body and are very cute.

How do they communicate?

Foxes have several methods for communication. They use vocalizations, body language, and scents. A fox can send very clear messages to other members of its species by body languages like tail wagging, ear flicking, or even facial expression. Vocalizations include loud screams, barks, and warning calls. Even the young ones can communicate easily if they need the attention of their mothers. Through scents, foxes mark their territories. There are several parts of their bodies that excrete odors. They use these odors to mark their own territory.

How big are foxes?

The average length of foxes ranges from 12 -25 in (31 -63 cm). If compared to dogs like Shiba Inu, then they are of equal length. But when compared to dogs like Chihuahuas, then it makes them at least two times bigger. The average height of a fox varies from 9-16 in (22-40 cm). Both the height and body length of a fox varies according to their sub-species.

How fast can foxes run?

The speed of a fox varies between 30-40 mph (48-64 kph). A red fox can run at a speed of 31 mph (50 kph), while a gray fox can run at the pace of 42 mph (68 kph).

How much do foxes weigh?

The average weight of a fox comes in the range of 5-24 lb (3- 11 kg). This makes them at least ten times heavier than a rabbit.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males of the fox species are known simply as a fox. Terms like dogs, reynards are also known to denote the males. The female counterparts of these animals are known as Vixens.

What would you call baby foxes?

The babies of a fox are known as pups or cubs. They are also known by the term kits.

What do they eat?

Foxes are omnivorous. They mainly prey on rabbits, mice, and small birds. They like to feed on fruits, nuts, and berries too. They are experts in hunting down their prey. Frogs, cats, rodents, and other earthworms too are on their list of prey. Foxes of urban areas might be seen scavenging the dustbins for food, and they prey on rats and pigeons.

Are they aggressive?

Foxes are not especially known for their aggression. They hardly attack humans and mostly stay away if they encounter one. However, there are exceptions, like when foxes turn rabid. Foxes also become aggressive if they are mishandled or captured.

Would they make a good pet?

Many fox species can be domesticated and kept as a pet, especially the red foxes. They are very playful and curious and will make a good pet. There are specially domesticated fox species, which are very docile towards humans.

Did you know...

There are some very unique facts about foxes. For starters, they are scared of people. Humans seem to scare them away, and they are also afraid of loud noises. Another fascinating fact regarding them is that they have similarities with dogs and cats. Both cats and foxes are active at night, and both hunt in a similar manner.

Fox hunting is a threat that looms on these animals. Originating in the early 16th century, fox hunting was a very common recreational activity. It continued till the 19th century for fun and sports, and to date, fox hunting is seen in countries like Russia and Australia.

Did you know there are musical bands which have foxes in their names? The two most famous ones are Foxes and Fossils, and Fleet Foxes. There are other animals which have fox in their names, but are not actually foxes! The most common ones are the flying foxes, which is a bat!

Where do foxes sleep?

Most of these animals sleep in their dens. They mostly occupy dens during their breeding season, but such dens are their favorite sleeping spot. They also sleep in open areas or close to a bush. They have a furry tail and sleep on it by curling it close to their body.

What to do if a fox approaches you?

If you have a sudden encounter with a fox, then you should make sure that it can feel your presence. You can shout, yell, or clap your hands. Foxes are generally non-aggressive and will not harm you if you do not provoke them. The cubs of red foxes are very curious in nature, and they might come close to you out of curiosity. You should not feel scared in this case.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these fennec fox facts and bat-eared fox facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fox coloring pages.

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