Fox FAQs

How big are foxes?

Foxes are small animals, adults standing on average 40cm at the shoulder. In length they measure from about 90-105cm from nose tip to tail tip with brushes varying in length and thickness. Their average weight varies from 14 -20lbs, vixens weighing less usually.

Are foxes truly red?

Some foxes are very orangey red all over but none are actually blood red. Their colours vary from red to typical reddish brown, tawny, dark brown, greyish and almost black. Albinos have been seen in the wild on very rare occasions. There are many different shades and tones as well as varying texture to each individual fox coat.

Can foxes bark?

Foxes are sometimes known to bark exactly like dogs when warning cubs of danger. Most of the time though, vocalisation is very different from any other canid, the fox having a more higher and dragged out voice that has the distinct sound of something from the wild.

Can foxes breed with dogs?

There are some stories of fox and dog hybrids in the past but stories they only are and there is no evidence of such an outcome. Foxes and dogs have been known to show interest in each other when in breeding condition but nothing more as far as I know. Whelping bitches have reared newly born cubs many times and foxes share a lot of similar characteristics with dogs and other canids but not enough for them to be biologically compatible to produce offspring. Red foxes can mate and produce offspring with their close cousins, arctic foxes, but these are all said to be infertile.

Do foxes attack cats?

Foxes and cats ignore each other at most encounters which can happen quite often during the night. Cats can usually defend themselves very well against an attack and although a fox attacking a cat is not unknown, it is very uncommon.

How common are foxes?

Foxes are probably the most successful land mammal in the northern hemisphere. They occupy every different type of terrain, habitat and climate. They are very common and commonly reach very high densities if enough food and right shelter is available. They also reach very high populations in urban areas.

Are foxes becoming more domesticated?

Foxes have certainly adapted to the changes man has brought on their environment and have taken advantage of what is available and what isn’t. Although in towns they scavenge refuse and feed on handouts they do not abandon their instincts for survival as a woodland creature. They will still pounce for mice on the rough grass in the no-go areas of railway embankments and industrial estates. They will still hunt for worms on lawns and playing fields and will still bring their cubs woodland birds, squirrels, rats and the odd urban rabbit. Fox diet varies from place to place but the point is that town foxes are not degenerated scavengers and although their ecological niche may have been slightly disrupted by man in towns as well as in the countryside, it is unlikely that it has made any difference to their wildness.

Are foxes lamb killers?

Foxes are not animals that go around slaughtering lambs for a living. Mutton is not a preferred food according to detailed study of diet by biologists and foxes are not a threat to the livelihood of livestock owners. Even if some lambs were taken there is usually no evidence that these were healthy, fit lambs. Lamb and sheep debris found at earths doesn’t mean that these animals were killed by the fox. It is often only scavenged carrion.

It is unfair to persecute an animal for being what it is and a fox has no fault whatsoever in using its predation instincts in times of need. Nevertheless they are not a serious threat to farmers as are wild animals in other parts of the world like Europe and America where farmers have to be compensated for sheep loss due to wolf predation.

The fox is not a predator of large mammals and its main niche as a predator is to prey upon small mammals and birds as well as insects, worms and fruit.

Foxes pose a threat to the native wildlife of Australia where they were deliberately introduced by man for foxhunting. In Ireland, Britain and the rest of Europe they are native and have an important role to play in the ecology and food chain of our wildlife.

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