The Red Fox is more than just an internet meme. Underneath its thick reddish coat and its big bushy tail is a resourceful predator known for its cunning abilities and intelligence. It makes its home in forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts around the world. Heck, you might even stumble across one in your own backyard! Keep on reading to learn 44 facts about the Red Fox.
Fact 1: The Red Fox is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the order Carnivora.
Fact 2: These foxes are spread across the entire northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, North America, and Eurasia.
Fact 3: The only land mammal that is more widely distributed across the globe than the Red Fox is humans.
Fact 4: In the 19th century, Red Foxes were first introduced to Australia. They have since colonized nearly the entire continent. The only place they are not found in the central Australian deserts.
Fact 5: Throughout the world, Red Foxes are seen as a symbol of animal cunning and intelligence. For example, Red foxes are often seen unlocking latches on garden gates.
Fact 6: Unfortunately, Red Foxes are hunted for sport and for their fur and are raised commercially for pelts.
Fact 7: The Red Fox has a coat of long guard hairs and soft fine underfur that is typically a rich reddish-brown.
Fact 8: Its tail is often white-tipped, and it has black ears and legs. Its color, however, is variable. In North America, black and silver coats are found, with a variable amount of white or white-banded hair occurring in a black coat, and these animals are sometimes called Silver Foxes.
Fact 9: The “brant” is a yellowish-brown fox with a black cross extending between the shoulders and down the back.
Fact 10: The Samson fox is a mutant strain of Red Fox found in northwestern Europe. It lacks the long guard hairs, and the underfur is tightly curled.
Fact 11: Red Foxes make their home in a mixed landscape that varies from forests to Urban landscapes.
Fact 12: Typical Natural habitats that Red Foxes inhabit are forests, grasslands, and everything in between. However, they can live in environments ranging from Arctic tundra, arid deserts, and rock-strewn mountain regions.
Fact 13: Red Foxes adapt very well to human presence, thriving in areas with farmland and woods.
Fact 14: Populations of Red Foxes can be found in many large cities, suburbs, and other urban ecosystems.
Fact 15: They’re omnivores, feeding on a mix of mice, voles, rabbits, fruits, and eggs.
Fact 16: However, they’ll readily eat other available food such as carrion, grain (especially sunflower seeds), garbage, pet food left unattended overnight, and domestic poultry.
Fact 17: Female Red Foxes are called vixens, and young cubs are known as kits.
Fact 18: Red Foxes mate in winter. After a gestation period of seven or eight weeks, the female (vixen) gives birth to 1–10 or more (5 is average) young kits.
Fact 19: They have binocular vision which lets them pinpoint their prey in 3D space. This lets Red Foxes judge distances very accurately for when they have to pounce on prey.
Fact 20: They also have a very keen sense of hearing, being able to hear the squeaking of mice from about 100 meters distance. They are capable of locating a sound’s direction to within one degree.
Fact 21: The Red Fox uses urine to mark its territories.
Fact 22: A male fox raises one hind leg and his urine is sprayed forward in front of him, whereas a female fox squats down so that the urine is sprayed in the ground between the hind legs.
Fact 23: They come out at night to play and hunt.
Fact 24: They are usually active at night. During the day, they rest in forests, or ravines, curling their long bushy tails around themselves to keep warm.
Fact 25: The scientific name for the Red Fox is Vulpes vulpes.
Fact 26: Red Foxes are known for attacking home pets such as rabbits. If a rabbit is in a hutch a fox will spend time analyzing the hutch and testing it for weakness until it finds a way of getting inside.
Fact 27: A male Red Fox usually can’t be bothered to make its own den.
Fact 28: But when a male does use a den, it will usually find an abandoned rabbit or marmot den instead of making its own den. Female foxes, on the other hand, make their homes by digging burrows in the ground. These burrows also, called dens, provide a cool area to sleep, a good location to store food, and a safe place to have their pups.
Fact 29: Adult Red Foxes produce 12 different kinds of sounds.
Fact 30: However, kits, young foxes can only produce 8 different sounds. As the kits mature so does their vocalization capabilities.
Fact 31: Red Foxes may compete with striped hyenas on large carcasses.
Fact 32: Red Foxes may give way to hyenas on unopened carcasses, as a hyena’s far stronger jaws can easily tear open flesh that is too tough for foxes.
Fact 33: A 1981 Disney film “The Fox and the Hound” tells about the story of friendship between a Red Fox and a hunting dog.
Fact 34: The 24th Disney animated feature film, tells the story of two unlikely friends, a Red Fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper, who struggle to preserve their friendship despite their emerging instincts and the surrounding social pressures demanding them to be adversaries.
Fact 35: In European folklore, the figure of Reynard the Fox symbolizes trickery and deceit.
Fact 36: Renard first appeared as a secondary character in the 1150 poem “Ysengrimus”.
Fact 37: In Japanese mythology, fox-like spirits with supernatural powers are called “Kitsune”.
Fact 38: According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shapeshift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others (as foxes in folklore often do). Other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
Fact 39: A kumiho is a creature that appears in the tales and legends of Korea.
Fact 40: Deriving from ancient Chinese myths and folklores, a fox that lives a thousand years turns into a kumiho, like its Japanese and Chinese counterparts.
Fact 41: Red Foxes are fantastic at adapting to their environment. If living in forests, foxing will actively hunt for small prey such as hedgehogs, yet if they live in an urban area such as a city, they change their food gather methods completely and start scavenging in outdoor bins for human food waste.
Fact 42: There is a considerable amount of folklore surrounding the Red Fox. Most folklore originates from Europe and East Asia and centres around a fox’s trickery and possession of magical powers.
Fact 43: Red Foxes have been known to grow to lengths of around 1.45 meters. Though the vast majority of foxes are far smaller at only 1 meter in length.
Fact 44: Red Foxes often communicate using body language. This includes the movement of the ears, Tails, and the position of the whole body.