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Red fox Habitat, Diet, Economic Importance and Amazing Facts

Introduction to Red Fox

We are all familiar with foxes. The red fox is known as the common fox. Usually, we combine Jackal and foxes, although they are two different species. The red fox is a subspecies of the fox, not Jackal.


Red Fox
Red Fox (Source Wikimedia Commons)


The red fox is the largest part of the fox species. In the animal kingdom, they are mammals of the Canidae family of the Chordate Phylum. Their scientific name is Vulpes vulpes. The female Red Fox is known as Vixens.  Red Fox is the second most widespread species in the world after humans.

There are 45 subspecies of red fox have been identified, divided into two groups; Large Northern Fox and Basal Southern Fox of Asia and North Africa.

The red fox is a very intelligent and Claver animal which is why it occupies a special place among all other animals.

 

Geographical area:


Red foxes are found in most parts of Europe, winter Asia, North Africa, the United States and Canada. They are also found in the far north of Canada and Alaska, and most of western America and Hawaii.

 


Where do Red Fox Live?


Red foxes live in holes and their habitats are of mixed nature. Red foxes have adapted to a variety of ecosystems around the world, from forests, mountains, grasslands to Arctic tundra and even arid deserts. They can be seen in all types of ecosystems except aquatic ecosystems.

At the same time, they have adapted to human settlements, cities, and suburbs. 

Most red foxes prefer to live in open spaces and dense vegetation areas, except during the breeding season. However, they make holes to survive bad weather or rain.

The Red Fox makes holes for living on hill or mountain slopes, ravines, bluffs, steep banks of water bodies, ditches, depressions, gutters, in rock clefts, inside a small bush, near the agricultural land, and neglected human environments.

In cities or suburbs, they can be seen living in abandoned drains or sewer pipes, closed drains, or in abandoned buildings. They make the hole in such a way that it is not visible to anyone.

 


Red Fox Diet:

 

The red fox is a solitary predator and omnivorous animal. They prey on rats, rabbits, birds, and other small animals. They eat fruits, vegetables, fish, frogs, and even insects. Locally living red foxes occasionally eat litter, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, or even pet food that roams around the yard. Excluding domesticated chickens, ducks, pigeons, quail birds, and sometimes goats kids, or small pets.


Snow Red Fox
Snow Red Fox ( Source needfix)


 

Reproductive behavior:

 

The breeding season for red foxes in winter. Most males have only one female partner but some males participate in reproductive activities with more than one female. After mating, the female fox makes holes for delivery. The gestation period of red foxes is about seven to eight weeks. The female red fox (Vixen) usually gives birth to 2-12 cubs at a time. Newborn cubs are born blind, which means their eyes do not open after birth. The cubs remain in the dark for about five weeks after delivery and do not emerge from the hole. At this time the male fox does not enter the hole but the male fox collects food for the cubs and brings them. It takes about 12-14 days for the baby fox to open their eyes.

Newborn baby foxes are brown or gray in color. After one month of age, their red fur is gradually seen. Both parents take care of their children together. Throughout the summer the parents take care of the baby fox together and train the baby to catch prey through various games. In Autumn Season, When the cubs are ready for living an independent life then parents fox leave them

 

Social behavior


Red foxes are usually seen in pairs or in small groups or together with other family members. Sometimes fathers, moms, and new members of the family form a group, or the male fox crate a group with more female foxes. The young members of the group stay with their parents to take care of the new cubs.

Foxes secrete a type of pheromone with their urine. Through which they identify their geographical area as well as communicate. 


Physical characteristics:


Red foxes are about 36-42 inches long. Their tail length is about 14-16 inches. Like cats, their dense tails help to balance the movement, and sometimes the tails protect them from the cold. Again this tail is used as a symbolic flag to communicate with other foxes.

Adult red foxes weigh about 5-10 kg, but 14 kg foxes have also been observed. In size, the female fox tends to be slightly larger than the male fox.

Although the name is a red fox, it is sometimes seen in gold, reddish-brown, silver, and even black. The red fox has orange-red fur on the backsides and head. It has white fur on the bottom of the neck and chest. The tip of the tail is often white or black, with black fur on the underside of the legs and black on the back of the ears.

 

How does Red Fox prey?

 

Red foxes are nocturnal animals, but sometimes they come out in daylight in search of food. Red foxes have a much better hearing than other mammals. They can also hear the sound of rats or rabbits digging in the Underground. Once the fox is able to identify its prey, it quickly digs into the ground to catch it.

When they go hunting for a moving animal, they will stand at a distance and observe the animal well and then quickly jumps on the prey with a long jump and knocks the prey to the ground with his feet. Foxe's store food in holes or in secret places. Later, when he gets hungry, he comes back to eat it.

Foxes have been able to adapt to all environments. On the other hand, urbanization or deforestation has reduced the number of foxes hunting wolves or other large predators, leading to a rapid increase in fox breeding. As a result, they move to the locality for food or attack domesticated birds..

 

Red fox hunter


Just as foxes are predators but foxes also have predators to hunt. Young red foxes may be initially attacked by eagles. Mature red foxes are attacked by larger animals including bears, coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions. However, man is the biggest predator of red foxes. People hunt foxes to protect crops or domesticated poultry from foxes. However, foxes are widely hunted for their fur and pelts.

 

Red fox Voice

 

We usually, hear foxes voice at night. In fact, red foxes can call in different voices for different purposes. The Voice can be two types. 

  • Contact Calls
  • Interaction Calls
  • Warn Calls

Contact Calls

Sometimes Red Fox calls like owls or howls like a dog in a wow wow wow. The idea is that foxes communicate with their mates by this call. Many times when a fox calls, other foxes also call out in imitation of that call. The fox calls or responds in this way mainly for communication.

Interaction Calls: 

In this type of vice call, the female fox attracts the male for matching.  During the breeding season, the female fox attracts the male by calling out loudly. 

Warn Calls:

The parent’s fox also makes a kind of call to warn the cubs when they see any danger. Hearing this, the baby foxes understood the danger and hid in the hole.

 

Economic importance of Red Fox


The red fox has both advantages and disadvantages.

Beneficial aspects:

Considering the beneficial aspects, we get the following points-

01. Foxes play an important role in maintaining the balance of the environment. They are second or top-level consumers of an ecosystem.

02. Red Fox Protects crops from harmful insects.

03. Red fox protects the crop field from the attack of rats, chicks, rabbits, or flocks of birds. At the same time, they play an important role in suppressing crop enemies.

04. Fox fur and pelt have a lot of economic importance, so people are trying to domesticate red foxes, and that's why domesticated red foxes are seen.

05. The fox as an intelligent creature has been presented in many myths and mythologies of human civilization. Foxes are involved in human culture through stories, novels, or poetry.

 

Harmful aspects:

 

Considering the disadvantages, we get the following.

01. Red foxes harm us by eating domesticated ducks and chickens.

02. Pets or cattle are also attacked from time to time and harm us.

03. In Australia the Foxes known as dangered species for the local mammal and bird community. Due to this, it is listed as one of the '100 worst invasive species' in the world.


Some Amazing Facts of Red Fox


πŸ‘‰Although the red fox is thought to have originated in Europe in the 19th century, recent DNA tests have shown that these foxes are native to North America.


πŸ‘‰ Normally The Vixens have four pairs of teats, but sometimes it's seen seven, nine, or ten teats. The teats of males are smaller than those of Arctic foxes.


πŸ‘‰ British red foxes are larger in size than foxes in other countries. The largest red fox on record in Great Britain was a 17.2 kg.


πŸ‘‰ Red fox smell sense is weaker than a specialized dog but red fox hearing capability is better than any dog. Naturally dogs hearing frequency is 67-45,000 Hz and Red fox hearing frequency is 700–3,000 Hz that's why the fox can hear very small sounds.


πŸ‘‰Red foxes are associated with wolves and domestic dogs but foxes are more Clever.  


πŸ‘‰Red foxes can run very fast. They can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour ‍and the red fox is a good jumper. Red foxes can jump more than six feet high.


πŸ‘‰ The red fox uses its long furry tail as a blanket to keep its body warm in winter and also a symbolic flag. 


πŸ‘‰ The red fox uses  pheromone with their urine to mark their territory area and use up to 12 different urination postures to control the position of the scent mark


πŸ‘‰ Do You know, The Jack Russell Terrier is one of the Long Living dog breeds. This breed of dog was invented by a man named John Russell in John Russell to protect domesticated ducks from Red foxes attacks.

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