The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a common and widespread mammal.
The Red Fox has reddish fur with yellow tints. Its winter fur is dense, long, soft, and silky. It sides are lighter than its back and its chin, lower lips, throat and front of the chest are white. The tip of its fluffy tail is white. It has a long body, long narrow head, and short legs. Its front paws have five toes and its back paws have four toes. Each toe has a strong claw. It has oval-shaped pupils with excellent vision.
It measures 35-50 centimetres (14-20 inches) tall at the shoulder and 45-90 centimetres (18-35 inches) in length. Its tail measures 30-55 centimetres (12-22 inches) long.
The Red Fox lives in the Northern Hemisphere from north Africa, to Europe, Asia, and North America.
It mainly feeds on rabbits, mice, voles, squirrels, hamsters, birds, and reptiles. It is omnivorous because it also eats fruit and vegetation, and it will often scavenge around rubbish bins. It hunts early in the morning and late in the evening. Its predators include wolves, coyotes, jackals, and wild cats.
It can jump over 200 centimetres (79 inches) high. It can trot at 50 kilometres per hour (30 miles per hour). It is also a good swimmer.
It is often found in pairs or small family groups of up to 8 individuals. The female is called a vixen and young babies are called cubs or kits.
They usually mate for life – they are monogamous. The vixen is pregnant for 49-58 days, before giving birth to 4-6 kits. Kits are born blind, deaf and toothless, with dark-brown fluffy fur. Mothers remain with the kits for 2–3 weeks, and are very protective of her young. They reach adult proportions at the age of 6–7 months.
In the wild, the Red Fox lives for about 5 years.
Photographer: Fiona Ricketts
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM