Foxes are close relatives of wolves, jackals and dogs, all of which are members of the same canine family. Of the 39 species described, there are 12 species of native fox that can be found on all continents. Foxes can survive in forests, meadows, mountains, the Arctic Circle, in the countryside, and near urban areas. The most common and widespread species is the red fox. Red fox hunting has been a popular practice in the past and it still exists in some parts of the world. Fortunately, this cruel tradition is slowly disappearing. Several species of fox, such as the crab-eating fox and the African bat-eared fox, are classified as endangered because of their slow reproductive speed and inability to adapt to environmental changes.
When raising their young, they live in small families—called a “leash of foxes” or a “skulk of foxes”—in underground burrows.
Depending on the species, foxes range in size. They usually weigh 13 pounds, like a small to medium sized dog.
Like the cat, the fox has sensitive whiskers and spines on its tongue.
Foxes are characterized by sharp muzzle and fluffy tail. Color of the fur can be red, brown, black, grey, silver or white – depending on their environment.
It walks on its toes, which accounts for its elegant, cat-like tread.
Tip of the tail is always white. Tips of their ears and feet are always black.
Foxes are the only member of the dog family that can climb trees—gray foxes have claws that allow them to climb and descend vertical trees quickly.
Foxes share some similarities with cats. They have retractable claws (which can be pulled inside the paws) and vertical pupils.
Some foxes even sleep in trees—just like cats.
Vertical pupils are typical for creatures that are active at night (nocturnal). Foxes see well at dim light.
The red fox has the widest range of the more than 280 animals in the order Carnivora.
Besides good night eyesight, foxes have excellent sense of smell and hearing. They use these senses to detect the prey.
According to New Scientist, the fox can see the earth’s magnetic field as a “ring of shadow” on its eyes that darkens as it heads towards magnetic north.
Foxes prefer meat and they will readily hunt birds (including poultry), rodents, small mammals and reptiles. They are also able to dig and eat human waste and different types of fruit and berries.
Foxes reproduce once a year.
Most species of foxes are solitary. Rare species live and hunt in small packs.
Roughly the size of a kitten, the fennec fox has elongated ears and a creamy coat.
Foxes can run very fast (up to 30 miles per hour) thanks to their slender body.
Foxes are known to be friendly and curious. They play among themselves, as well as with other animals, like cats and dogs do.
Grey foxes are the only members of the dog family that are able to climb the tree.
In 2011, researchers opened a grave in a 16,500-year-old cemetery in Jordan to find the remains of a man and his pet fox.
Foxes dig underground dens, where they hide from the predators and take care of their babies.
In the 1960s, a Soviet geneticist named Dmitry Belyaev bred thousands of foxes before achieving a domesticated fox.
Typical predators of foxes are wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes.
Today, you can buy a pet fox for $9000, according to Fast Company.
Foxes mate once per year. Peak of the mating season is in January. During that time, foxes produce screeching sounds that can be heard during the night and in the early hours.
The arctic fox, which lives in the northernmost areas of the hemisphere, can handle cold better than most animals on earth.
Pregnancy lasts 53 days and it ends with 3 to 6 pups. They are unable to see, hear or walk in the first couple of days of their life and depend completely on their mother.
In the 19th century, the upper classes turned fox hunting into a formalized sport where a pack of hounds and men on horseback chase a fox until it is killed.
When babies grow enough to be able to eat meat, mother starts to vomit swallowed food to feed her pups.
The Finnish believed a fox made the Northern Lights by running in the snow so that its tail swept sparks into the sky.
Fox live up to 3 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.
During his voyage on the Beagle, Charles Darwin collected a fox that today is called Darwin’s Fox.