Page 144 - A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife
P. 144

(Vulpes vulpes)


This carnivore is about the size of a small
dog, about 1 meter in length from nose to
tail. The fur is rusty red with a white throat,
chest and belly. The bushy tail is also
tipped with white. Red Foxes are most
active at night. They live alone except
during the breeding season (December to
February). After mating, the pair makes a
den in an old woodchuck hole or a burrow
they dig themselves. The vixen (female) gives birth to one to nine young
(called kits) in March or April. The dog (male fox) hunts for the vixen until the
kits can be left alone; then both parents care for the kits until they are old
enough to live independently (about seven months).

Red Foxes sometimes “charm” Distribution and Habitat
their prey. They roll, leap and
bounce around in a playful fashion Red Foxes are found in all five
that fascinates prey animals. The physiographic provinces except
fox gradually moves closer and for the far southeast corner of the
closer, then pounces and seizes the Coastal Plain province. They prefer
“charmed” animal in its jaws! diverse habitat and thrive on the
edges of human-altered landscapes.

Role in Food Web

Red Foxes are omnivorous, although
most of their diet is made up of
Eastern Cottontail Rabbits and
mice. They also eat Gray Squirrels,
Muskrats, birds, frogs, insects,
carrion, garden and crop plants,
nuts and fruits. As one of the few
predators in our area, Red Foxes
are important to keep rodent
populations down. They have few
predators, although birds of prey
may take young kits.

r 140 r
   139   140   141   142   143   144   145   146   147   148   149