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Red Foxes: The Silent Hunters

At first glance, the red fox looks like an animal you might have as a pet at home, but these creatures are designed to live in the wild.

Red fox
Photo via Shutterstsock

Red foxes are excellent hunters. Because they are usually alone, they are able to live well side by side with humans. In fact, you could have a fox living in or near your neighborhood and never know it.

Here’s some more interesting information about red foxes.

Fun Facts

  • Red foxes live in every U.S. state except Hawaii. They are common in many areas, but red foxes are rarely seen in the desert areas of the Southwest United States.

  • Red foxes are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. Their favorite foods are rabbits and rodents such as mice. They also eat birds, frogs, toads and fruit. Sometimes, they kill more food than they can eat. When this happens, they bury the extra food or cover it with grass and leaves, but they do not always come back to eat it.

  • Male foxes are called dogs, and females are called vixens. The babies are called pups, kits or cubs, and a group of foxes is called a skulk.

  • The red fox looks very similar to the gray fox, another type of fox in the United States. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is their tails. Red foxes have white fur at the end of their tails, but gray foxes have black fur on the tips of their tails.

  • The red fox is the only mammal that lives in Illinois that has rusty, red-colored fur.

  • Red foxes have an excellent sense of hearing, which helps them hunt. They can even hear rodents digging underground.

  • Red fox pups are born blind but can see at about 9 days old. While they are newborns, they stay with their mothers constantly and the father brings the family food. The young red foxes leave their parents to live on their own by the time they are about 6 months old.

  • Red foxes are smaller than coyotes but bigger than raccoons. They usually stand about 2 feet tall and are about 3 feet long. They can weigh anywhere from 6 pounds to 20 pounds.

  • Foxes are mostly silent, especially when hunting, but they make more than 30 different sounds to communicate with other foxes. They also communicate by marking areas with their urine to let other animals know they have been there.


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