Fox - Wildlife


Appearance

Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are 35 to 48 inches long (nose to tail), stand higher than a large cat or small dog, and weigh 7 to 17 lbs. Body color ranges from grayish-red to bright red in color and have a white tail tip.

Gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargentus) are smaller than a red fox, are 31 to 44 inches long (nose to tail) and weigh 7 to 10 lbs. Body color ranges from dark gray to reddish-gray and have no white on their tail tip.  

Behavior

Foxes generally pose little threat to humans, their property or pets. Large red foxes have been known, in some cases, to prey on small cats. It is always advisable to feed pets indoors and to keep small pets inside or securely penned at night.

Foxes are primarily nocturnal. Foxes are highly adaptive and can become increasingly active during the day in urban areas.

Foxes establish bonded pairs to breed in January or February and raise young together. Gestation is 7 to 8 weeks. Red foxes establish maternity dens in previously used sites. Gray foxes establish maternity dens in hollow logs, rock piles, or small caves. Dens are only used to rear young. Young foxes become independent by 6 months of age.

Diet

Foxes are omnivores. A natural diet includes berries, plants, insects and small mammals. A modified diet can include pet food, garbage, and bird feeder seeds.

Foxes help control rodent populations by preying on rats and mice. Large red foxes have been known to prey on young fawns.

Habitat

Foxes inhabit wooded, suburban and urban areas of Fairfax County. The red fox is more common and highly adaptive in urban environments.

(More species information)

 


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