Foxes are cunning, secretive animals and that’s probably what makes them fascinating. But foxes can be destructive — they pose a significant threat to poultry farmers, and they usually cause severe damage to the property when scavenging for food.
Foxes are a close relative of dogs, wolves, and jackals. They all belong to the canine family. Out of 39 known species, there are only twelve real species of foxes found in all parts of the world. Foxes can survive in grasslands, forests, countryside, Arctic Circle, mountains and near the urban areas. Male foxes are referred to as “dogs” whereas females are known as “vixens.”
The red fox is the most widespread and common species. In the past, hunting of red foxes was a very popular practice, and it’s still being carried out in some parts of the world. The good news is, this cruel, destructive tradition is disappearing gradually.
Some fox species, such as African bat-eared fox and the crab-eating fox, are currently listed as endangered because of inability to adapt to the changes in their environment and slow reproduction. What do you know about these fascinating creatures? Here are the most interesting facts about foxes.
1. Foxes like meat and they’ll hunt small mammals, rodents, birds (including poultry) and the reptiles. They can also dig and eat human waste and various types of berries and fruit.
2. Pregnancy lasts 53 days, and it ends with three to six pups. They can’t see, walk or hear in the first days of their lives and depend entirely on their mother.
3. Like cats, foxes have vertically oriented pupils that help them to see well in low-light situations. Foxes are mainly nocturnal animals. That means they like to hunt at night and sleep during the day. Besides excellent night eyesight, foxes have an excellent sense of hearing and smell. They utilize these senses to detect their prey. This can change, depending on the region where the fox lives.
4. The red fox has the largest geographical range than any animal in the order Carnivora. Its range is the whole Northern Hemisphere, from the Asiatic steppes to Central America to North Africa to the Arctic Circle. It is also found in Australia, where it is considered an invasive species.
5. Grey foxes that live in North America are the only member of dog family who can climb trees!
6. The arctic fox that lives in the northernmost parts of the hemisphere can endure cold better than many animals on earth. It does not get cold until 700C. Its white coat acts as camouflage against the predators. As the season changes, the coat changes also, turning gray or brown so the fox can blend in with the rocks and the dirt of tundra.
7. Foxes are extremely playful. Foxes, as we know, are very curious and friendly. They enjoy playing among themselves, and with other animals, such as dogs and cats. Foxes also like balls that they usually steal from the golf courses. While foxes are wild animals, they have good relations with people.
In 2011, researchers discovered a grave that was in a cemetery in Jordan and is dated over 16500 summer age. Archeologists have found the remains of the person and his pet in the grave -fox. It was 4000 years before the first celebrity, and a dog has been buried together.
8. Foxes dig underground dens, where they take care of their babies and hide from the predators.
9. The United States is home to 4 different fox species: the red fox, kit fox, swift fox, and gray fox. The red foxes have the highest population, followed by the gray fox, and the two species have the largest ranges throughout the country.
10. Foxes have whiskers not only on their faces but also the legs. It helps them to navigate better in a dark den.