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Red Fox

Renard Roux

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Red Fox

Facts about the Red Fox

  •  Keen eyesight, pupils are vertical as in felines.
  • Hearing is very acute.
  • Sense of smell is highly developed.
  • A variety of colour phases occur in the fur of red foxes: reddish with brown bands on the back and shoulders, black and silver. But all red foxes have a white-tipped tail. 
  • Body length : 90 to 117 cm

Renard rouxThe Red fox (vulpes vulpes) belongs to the dog family (Canidae) which includes wolves, coyotes and dogs.  In North America, it is common from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Alaska to the southern United States.  It is also found in Europe, Asia and North Africa. 

 

A solicitous mate

While the vixen fox (female) prepares to give birth, the dog fox (male) hunts and brings her food which he leaves at the entrance of the den. He is not allowed into the den. A pair may use the same den for several years.

The den

Foxes occasionally excavate their own burrows, although they usually modify an abandoned groundhog burrow.  Located 1 to 3 m underground, the den where the cubs are born and raised, is padded with leaves and grass, and has several entrances for escape purposes.  

Weaning

The young whelps are weaned at the beginning of the first month.  They then venture out of the den.  The vixen regurgitates half-digested prey to introduce the pups to a diet of solid food. The fox cubs learn to hunt when they’re about 2 months old.

Hunting for food

Renard roux

A fox stalks a mouse in much the same way a cat does: it lies in wait and then pounces on it.  A fox can also chase a hare until the hare drops with exhaustion. Its diet is omnivorous and varies according to the seasonal availability of small mammals, insects, birds and plants. Foxes travel up to 10 or more kilometers on a nocturnal forage.

The cache

The fox hides food in a cache it digs in the snow or the ground. More common in winter, a cache comes in handy on days when the hunt yields little or no prey. Unfortunately, the fox’s pantry often gets raided by other animals. 

Predators

Foxes are preyed on by coyotes, bears, lynxes and dogs as well as humans who trap them for their fur. 

Territory

Renard roux

Foxes frequent a wide variety of habitats: semi-open country, fields, clearings and the edge of forests. They also range in farming areas and close to cities and towns. Foxes use scent marks around their range, which consists of a network of trails which can extend over an area of 8 km. These scent marks also help foxes identify each other.   

THE RED FOX SEASON BY SEASON
Spring

The cubs are born between March and May following a gestation of some 52 days. In the first two weeks, they are blind and helpless. Their bodies are covered by a scanty undercoat of dark, woolly fur. The reddish guard hairs appear around the fourth week.   

While the female nurses her young, the male brings her food. He is only allowed into the den after the pups have opened their eyes and are able to crawl. Approximately ten days after the birth of the fox cubs, the mother will start to leave the den for brief forages. While they are rearing the pups, both parents only leave the den to go off and hunt. 

An average litter consists of 4 or 5 cubs that weigh approximately 100 g each at birth. The female has a single litter per year. The male (dog) is slightly larger than the female (vixen). Fully grown adults weigh between 3 and 7 kg. 

Summer

For the duration of the summer, both parents are very solicitous of their offspring. They take them on hunting forays and gradually let the cubs fend for themselves.  

The fox hunts at night and consumes many of the small rodents and insects that cause great damage to farmers’ crops. Fox populations usually peak during the summer.

Fall

By fall the cubs are self-reliant. The family unit begins to break up as each member goes off to establish a territory of its own. Juvenile foxes may wander as much as 15 km away from the den. Males tend to disperse farther than females.  
The fox lives a solitary life until the recurrence of the breeding season.  Dogs have been known to disperse up to 29 km compared to 8 km in the case of vixens.  Foxes reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 months. 

Winter

The fox appears larger in winter because its fur has thickened to protect it from the cold and allow it to live outdoors. It sleeps during the day, curled up in the snow, its tails wrapped around its nose and feet, in a location that’s both sunny and sheltered from the wind. 

This is the season when pairs begin to form. After mating, the prospective parents look for a den where the pups will be born. They may clean and enlarge 2 or 3 burrows, and generally use the same den for several years. They have other dens close by they can escape to in the case of danger.   The male and female live together until the cubs are reared. 

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Comments

le renard

Par josuha, 2015-02-24, 12h30

pas assez d info sur le renard :-(

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