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Fast Fact: Gray Foxes

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Did you know Illinois is home to two fox species? In addition to familiar red foxes, gray foxes also live across the state. They are most common in southern Illinois and near the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Gray foxes have mostly grayish fur with cream or whitish bellies. Their feet, legs, necks and ears can be a rusty red color. They are slightly smaller than red foxes, standing 12 inches to 15 inches tall and weighing between 7 pounds and 14 pounds.

Gray foxes mostly live in and near wooded areas. They can climb trees and do so when hunting. They are omnivores, but their diet mostly consists of rabbits. They also hunt mice and voles and will eat insects, fruits and other plant material. Gray foxes breed between January and March. The babies, called kits or pups, are born in April and May. The young foxes stay with their parents until they are about 4 months old, then they go off to live on their own.

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