Canidae (coyotes, dogs, foxes, jackals and wolves)
HABITAT AND RANGE
The red fox prefers sparsely settled rolling farm areas with wooded tracts, marshes and streams. It is generally found at the forest edge with access to fields and glades rather than densely wooded areas. The red fox ranges throughout the United States and Canada (except for the northernmost latitudes). It can also be found in Europe and Asia and has been introduced into Australia.
The red fox has orangish-red fur on its back, sides and head. It has white fur under its neck and on its chest. It has a long bushy tail tipped in white, pointed black ears and black legs and feet.
The red fox eats a wide variety of foods. It is an omnivore and its diet includes fruits, berries and grasses. It also eats birds and small mammals like squirrels, rabbits and mice. A large part of the red fox's diet is made up invertebrates like crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles and crayfish. The red fox will continue to hunt even when it is full. It stores extra food under leaves, snow or dirt.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFESPAN
The red fox mates from January through March. The female will make one or more dens right after mating. The extra dens are used if the original den is disturbed. A little less than two months after mating, the female gives birth to a litter of between one and ten kits. The male brings the female food while she is caring for the kits. The kits start playing outside the den when they are about a month old. The mother begins feeding her kits regurgitated food, but eventually she will bring them live prey to "play" with and eat. Playing with live prey helps the young kits develop the skills they will need for hunting. The kits leave their mother when they are about seven months old. Red foxes have incredibly high mortality rates in the wild (1-2 years on average) but can live 10-12 years in captivity. High number of offspring per litter is a good indicator to a short lifespan.
Foxes are primarily nocturnal and can be seen early morning and late evening (when their prey is out). Fox populations quickly reflect prey availability, declining quickly in response to decline in prey population.