Fox

Category: Wildlife

With 12 subspecies, foxes can be white, red, silver, brown, or tan. These creatures resemble small dogs, and in many areas, they are considered pests.

Fox

Fox

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Carnivora

Suborder - Caniformia

Family - Canidae

Genus - Vulpes

Species - V. vulpes (type species)

Common Names - Red Fox. Male foxes are called Tods, Reynards, and Dogs. Female foxes are called Vixens.

Characteristics

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the fox is its bushy tail and luxurious coat. The fur of the fox may be silver, white, red, brown, or tan. They have large, pointed ears, narrow muzzles, and dog-like bodies. Foxes can grow to between 16 and 33 inches long, and they usually weigh between 11 and 24 pounds.

Breeding

Foxes are often monogamous, keeping the same mate for life. Foxes mate in late winter, and their pups, called kits, are born after a pregnancy of about 50-53 days in early spring. The litter of kits can be from 2 to 12 babies. Both the male and the female fox will care for the kits for the remainder of the spring and the summer. The kits will be old enough to care for themselves by the time autumn arrives. When young foxes are about a year old, they will be able to reproduce themselves.

Behavior

Foxes, which are nocturnal creatures, prefer to live in large groups called packs, which include foxes of all genders and ages. They can live in a broad range of habitats including forests, deserts, grasslands, mountainous areas, and even in suburban places. Foxes only use dens when they raise their young, preferring dens that other creatures have made. Foxes like to eat small mammals like rabbits, mice, and rats. However, they will also eat fruit and vegetable matter. Foxes have been known to raid farmers' chicken houses, looking for a free chicken dinner. Foxes have great eyesight and can run up to 45 miles per hour.

History

Foxes are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Some species of fox were introduced to Australia in the mid-1800s. In North America, there are both native and non-native fox subspecies. In Europe, fox-hunting was a popular sport from the middle ages until now. Currently, fox-hunting is only allowed with humans and horses; dogs are no longer permitted to assist the hunters.

Present Status

The red fox is the most common species of fox in the world, enjoying widespread distribution on five of the seven continents. Arctic foxes and fennec foxes are listed as threatened in many places because humans have hunted them extensively for their lovely, thick fur pelts.

References

  1. http://www.livescience.com/27168-foxes.html

  2. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/red-fox/

  3. http://a-z-animals.com/animals/fox/

  4. http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/animals_a_z/fox_red/