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Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) - Wiki
Subject: Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) - Wiki
Vulpes vulpes laying in snow-Hokkaido Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes schrencki.jpg
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Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) - Wiki

Red Fox
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Hokkaido Fox, Vulpes vulpes schrencki lying in snow in Hokkaid??, Japan. キタキツネ (北狐 kita kitsune), a Vulpes vulpes schrencki native to Hokkaido. Source:

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a mammal of the order carnivora. In Great Britain and Ireland, where there are no longer any other native wild canids, it is referred to simply as the "Fox". It has the widest range of any terrestrial carnivore, being native to Canada, Alaska, almost all of the contiguous United States, Europe, North Africa and almost all of Asia, including Japan. It was introduced in Australia in the 19th century. As its name suggests, its fur is predominantly reddish-brown, but there is a naturally occurring grey morph known as the Silver Fox; a strain of tame Silver Fox has been produced from these animals by systematic domestication.

The largest species within the genus Vulpes, the Red Fox has a native range spanning most of North America and Eurasia, with several populations in North Africa. A subspecies, the Japanese Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes japonica) migrated from India to China and eventually to Japan. It is also known by the Japanese name kitsune (狐). The Red Fox has been introduced to Australia, where it poses a serious conservation problem. There is some debate on whether or not red foxes are native to North America. It has been hypothesized that the North American red fox originated from European red foxes, which introduced into the southeastern section of the United States around 1750. It may have interbred with the scarce indigenous population to produce a hybrid population.

Three subspecies of Red Fox are found in India: Vulpes vulpes Montana (the Tibetan Fox), found in Ladakh and the Himalayas, Vulpes vulpes griffithi (the Kashmir Fox) found in Jammu and Kashmir less the Ladakh sector, and Vulpes vulpes pusilla (the Desert Fox) found in the Thar desert of Rajasthan and in Kutch, Gujarat.

Physical description
The Red Fox is most commonly a rusty red, with white underbelly, black ear tips and legs, and a bushy tail with a distinctive white tip. The "red" tone can vary from crimson to golden, and in fact can be brindled or agouti, with bands of red, brown, black and white on each individual hair when seen close up. In North America, the red fox's pelt has long, soft hair, whereas the fur of European red foxes is flatter and less silky.

In the wild, two other color phases are also seen. The first is silver or black, comprising 10% of the wild population and most of the farmed. Approximately 30% of wild individuals have additional black patterning, which usually manifests as a stripe across the shoulders and down the center of the back. This pattern forms a "cross" over the shoulders, hence the term "cross fox". "Domesticated" or farmed stock may be almost any color, including spotted, or "marbled", varieties.

The fox's eyes are gold to yellow and have distinctive vertically slit pupils, similar to those of a feline. Their eyesight is also as sharp as that of a feline, and combined with their extreme agility for a canid, the Red Fox has been referred to as "the cat-like canid". Its long bushy tail with distinctive white tip provides balance for large jumps and complex movement. Its strong legs allow it to reach speeds of 45 miles per hour, a great benefit to catching prey or avoiding predators.

The Red Fox may reach an adult weight of 2.7-6.8 kilograms (6-15 pounds), but this varies from region to region; foxes living in Canada and Alaska tend to be larger than foxes in the United Kingdom, which are in turn larger than those inhabiting the Southern United States.

In general, the spacing between the canine teeth is approximately 11/16 to 1 inches apart. Red fox tracks are normally about 1 3/4 -inches wide and 2 1/4-inches long. A normal red fox's trotting stride is about 13 to 15 inches.

During the autumn and winter, the Red Fox will grow more fur. This so-called 'winter fur' keeps the animal warm in the colder environment. The fox sheds this fur at the onset of spring, reverting back to the short fur for the duration of the summer.

The Red Fox is found in a variety of biomes, from prairies and scrubland to forest settings. It is most suited to lower latitudes but does venture considerably far north, competing directly with the Arctic Fox on the tundra. The Red Fox has also become a familiar sight in suburban and even urban environments both in Europe and in North America, where it shares territory with the much maligned raccoon.

Dietary habits
Red foxes are omnivorous, this dietary adaptability being one of the main factors in the species wide distribution. The majority of their diet consists of invertebrates, such as insects, mollusks, earthworms and crayfish. Common vertebrate prey includes rodents such as mice and voles, rabbits, birds, eggs, amphibians, small reptiles and fish. Foxes have been known to kill deer fawns. In Scandinavia, predation by red fox is the most important mortality cause for neonatal roe deer. In urban areas, they will scavenge on human refuse, and even eat out of pet food bowls left outside. Analysis of country and urban fox diets show that urban foxes have a higher proportion of scavenged food than country foxes. They typically eat 0.5-1 kg (1-2 lb) of food a day.

They usually hunt alone in meadows, the natural environment of their most common prey items; mice and voles. With their acute sense of hearing, they can locate rodents through the thick grass and in their underground burrows. They wait until the mouse or vole comes above ground, then the fox jumps high in the air and pounces on its prey in a cat-like manner.

Red foxes have proportionately small stomachs for their size and can only eat half as much food in relation to their body weight as wolves and dogs can (about 10% versus 20%). In periods of scarcity, foxes will cache their food as a resort against starvation. They typically store their food in shallow 5-10 cm deep holes. Foxes tend to build as many small caches as possible, and scatter them across their territories rather than storing their food in a central location. The reason behind this behaviour (as opposed to hoarding behaviour seen in other animals) is to prevent a loss of the fox's entire food supply in the event that another animal finds the store.

Relationships with other predators
Along with the red fox, the gray fox is the most commonly occurring species of fox in North America. The two species have different preferences in habitat; the red fox prefers sparsely settled, hill areas with wooded tracts, marshes and streams while the gray fox is more commonly found in brushy areas, swamplands and rugged, mountainous terrain. In areas where their ranges overlap however, the gray foxes, despite being smaller, tend to be the dominant species due to higher levels of aggression. Conversely, red foxes tend to be dominant in areas where they coexist with arctic foxes. The larger, more aggressive red fox can dominate arctic foxes in direct competition for den sites and other limited resources.

In areas in North America where red fox and coyote populations are sympatric, fox territories tend to be located largely outside of coyote territories. The principal cause of this separation is believed to be active avoidance of coyotes by the foxes. Interactions between the two species vary in nature, ranging from active antagonism, to indifference. The majority of aggressive encounters are initiated by coyotes, and there are few reports of red foxes acting aggressively toward coyotes except when attacked or when their pups were approached. Conversely, foxes and coyotes have sometimes been seen feeding together.

Similairly, in Israel, the red fox shares its habitat with the golden jackal. Where their ranges meet, the two canids are in direct competition with each other due to near identical diets. Foxes generally ignore jackal scents or tracks in their territories, though they will avoid close physical proximity with jackals themselves. Studies have shown that in areas where jackals became very abundant, the population size of foxes decreases significantly, apparently because of competetive exclusion.

Foxes, may occassionally fall foul with badgers, Eurasian badgers in particular have been known to kill and eat fox cubs. However, violence between the two animals is not considered commonplace, with most encounters amounting to little more than mutual indifference.

Living as it does in a wide variety of habitats, the Red Fox displays a wide variety of behaviours. In Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids, MacDonald and Sillero-Zubiri state that two populations of the Red Fox may be behaviorally as different as two species.

The Red Fox is primarily crepuscular with a tendency to becoming nocturnal in areas of great human interference (and artificial lighting); that is to say, it is most active at night and at twilight. It is generally a solitary hunter. If a fox catches more food than it can eat, it will bury the extra food (cache) to store it for later.

In general, each fox claims its own territory; it pairs up only in winter, foraging alone in the summer. Territories may be as large as 50 square kilometres (19 square miles); ranges are much smaller (<12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles)) in habitats with abundant food sources, however. Several dens are utilized within these territories; dens may be claimed from previous residents such as marmots, or dug anew. A larger main den is used for winter living, birthing and rearing of young; smaller dens are dispersed throughout the territory for emergency and food storage purposes. A series of tunnels often connects them with the main den. One fox may only need a square kilometre of land marked by recognition posts that are special smells that come from a scent gland located just above a fox's tail.

The Red Fox has been considered a monogamous species, however evidence for polygamy (polygyny and polyandry) includes males’ extra territorial movements during breeding season (possibly searching for additional mates) and males’ home ranges overlapping two or more females’ home ranges. Such variability is thought to be linked to variation in the spatial availability of key resources such as food.

The Red Fox primarily forms monogamous pairs each winter, which cooperate to raise a litter of 4???6 kits (also called pups) each year; but in various locales and for various incompletely explored reasons they may also practice polygamy (multiple males sharing a single female and/or vice versa). Young foxes disperse promptly on maturity (approx. 8-10 months).

The reason for this "group living" behaviour is not well understood; some researchers believe the non-breeders boost the survival rate of the litters while others believe there is no significant difference, and such arrangements are made spontaneously due to a resource surplus.

Socially, the fox communicates with body language and a variety of vocalizations. Its vocal range is quite large and its noises vary from a distinctive three-yip "lost call" to a shriek reminiscent of a human scream. It also communicates with scent, marking food and territorial boundary lines with urine and feces.

The Red Fox breeding period varies widely due to its broad distribution; southern populations breed from December to January, central populations from January to February and northern populations from February to April. Females have an annual estrous period of between 1???6 days; ovulation is spontaneous. Copulation is loud and short, usually lasting no more than 20 seconds. Although a female may mate with several males (who fight amongst each other for the right), she will eventually settle with only one.

Males will supply food to females up to and after birthing, otherwise leaving the female alone with her kits (also called cubs or pups) in a "maternity den". An average litter size is 5 kits, but may be as large as 13. Kits are born blind and may weigh as much as 150 grams (0.33 pounds). Their eyes are open by two weeks and the kits have taken their first exploratory steps out of the den by five weeks; by 10 weeks they are fully weaned.

In autumn of the same year, the young foxes will disperse and claim their own territories. The Red Fox reaches sexual maturity by 10 months of age, and may live for 12 years in captivity but will usually only live 3 years in the wild.

Foxes and humans
The Red Fox has both positive and negative standing with humans, often being loved or hated. This has been most visible in the United Kingdom where fox hunting with dogs was a traditional sport and the predominant means for enforcing a cull, until this was made illegal on February 18, 2005. The fox features in much folklore (see Reynard), usually as a wily villain, though sometimes also as the underdog who triumphs over human efforts to control or destroy it.

Like other wild animals, foxes are considered vectors of disease. The Red Fox helps farmers by preying on animals that damage crops but is considered to be a pest by farmers involved in poultry farming. In some places, the Red Fox is used as a food animal. The Red Fox is of some importance in the fur industry.

Greater visibility in nature documentaries and sympathetic portrayals in fiction have improved the Red Fox's reputation and appeal in recent years. A prominent cultural impact is that on fox hunting, which became illegal in Scotland in August 2002 and in England and Wales in February 2005.

In Hong Kong, it is a protected species under Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 170..

Livestock predation
Red foxes are generally considered to be the most serious predator of free range poultry. The safest option known in poultry protection is to keep the flock and the fox physically separated, usually with high fencing. A fence needs to be at least 2 meters high in order to keep out most foxes, though on some rare occassions, a determined fox might succeed in climbing over. Surplus killing will often occur in enclosed spaces such as huts, with discarded feathers and headless bodies usually being the main indicators of fox predation.

Although poultry is the most commonly taken domesticated prey, red foxes will on some occassions kill young or small animals, particularly lambs and kids. In exceptional circumstances, they may attack subadult and adult sheep and goats and sometimes small calves. Foxes will usually kill lambs or kids by repeatedly biting the neck and back, which is usually the result from young animals being caught while lying down. Other than with poultry, fox predation on livestock can be distinguished from dog or coyote predation by the fact that foxes rarely cause severe ossular damage when feeding. Red foxes also are noted for carrying small carcasses back to their dens to feed their young which may account for some poultry, lambs and kids that disappear and are never found. Scientific studies in Britain find that between 0.5% and at most 3% of otherwise viable lambs may be taken by foxes, a statistically insignificant amount when compared to the mortality caused by exposure, starvation and disease.

In Human Imagination
The emblematic Red Fox is a frequent player in the stories of many cultures. A trickster character, the word Sly is almost invariablly associated with foxes in English, and the connotation of a sneaking intelligence (or even magic powers of stealth) are seen in traditional tales of Europe, Japan, China, and North America (though here the Coyote usually plays this role).

In the European fable tradition, running from Aesop's Fables, to Jean de La Fontaine's Fabliaux and the Reynard tales, the fox ranges from immoral villan (as the Fox in the hen house), to sly operator (either foolish or crafty), to wise observer (as a mouthpiece for the moral in some Aesop tales) to clever underdog (exemplified by the Reynard tradition). Some historians argue that the fox came to symbolise the survival strategies of European pesantry from the Medieval period to the French Revolution. Peasants admired guile and wit needed to out maneuver the powers of aristocracy, state and church, just as they saw the fox use these same qualities to raid their livestock under cover of darkness.

Conservation problems of feral foxes in Australia
Feral foxes in Australia pose a serious conservation problem. According to the Australian Government, the Red Fox was introduced to Australia for hunting in 1855, but has since become wide-spread, and is considered responsible for the decline in a number of species of native animals in the "critical weight range". In a program known as Western Shield, Western Australia state government authorities conduct aerial and hand baiting on almost 35,000 km² (8.75 million acres) to control foxes and feral cats. The West Australian conservation department, CALM, estimates introduced predators are responsible for the extinction of 10 native species in that state, while Western Shield targets the conservation of 16 others. Reports that foxes were introduced into Tasmania led to a large-scale effort tor remove them and to find persons responsible for the introductions. To date these efforts have not met with success, and there is some debate as to if the introductions did in fact take place.

In Australia foxes are usually controlled with baits or the animals shot with the aid of spotlighting The eyeshine signature (from the tapetum in the eye) of foxes, and body shape and silhouette are used to identify them. Success has also been found with the reintroduction of the native 'Australian Dog', the Dingo, which has been shown to control the number of feral foxes, and a consequential increase in native fauna.
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Red Fox

Red foxes live around the world in many diverse habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts. They also adapt well to human environments such as farms, suburban areas, and even large communities. The red fox's resourcefulness has earned it a legendary reputation for intelligence and cunning.

Red foxes are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as their home habitat. Foxes will eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms. If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically dine on garbage and pet food.

Like a cat's, the fox's thick tail aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail (or "brush") as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes.

Foxes also signal each other by making scent posts—urinating on trees or rocks to announce their presence.

In winter, foxes meet to mate. The vixen (female) typically gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. At birth, red foxes are actually brown or gray. A new red coat usually grows in by the end of the first month, but some red foxes are golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. Both parents care for their young through the summer before they are able to strike out on their own in the fall.

Red foxes are hunted for sport, though not extensively, and are sometimes killed as destructive pests or frequent carriers of rabies.

Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Average lifespan in the wild: 2 to 4 years
Size: Head and body, 18 to 33.75 in (46 to 86 cm); Tail, 12 to 21.75 in (30.5 to 55.5 cm)
Weight: 6.5 to 24 lbs (3 to 11 kg)
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Found throughout the world, the resourceful red fox is known for its cleverness and adaptability.
Red foxes are found throughout much of the northern hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to Central America, the steppes of central Asia, and northern Africa. This species has the widest distribution of any canid. Red foxes have also been introduced to Australia and the Falkland Islands.
Red foxes utilize a wide range of habitats including forest, tundra, prairie, desert, mountains, farmlands, and urban areas. They prefer mixed vegetation communities, such as edge habitats and mixed scrub and woodland. They are found from sea level to 4500 meters elevation.
Physical Description
Coloration of red foxes ranges from pale yellowish red to deep reddish brown on the upper parts and white, ashy or slaty on the underside. The lower part of the legs is usually black and the tail usually has a white or black tip. Two color variants commonly occur. Cross foxes have reddish brown fur with a black stripe down the back and another across the shoulders. Silver foxes range from strong silver to nearly black and are the most prized by furriers. These variants are about 25% and 10% of red fox individuals, respectively. Red foxes, like many other canid species, have tail glands. In Vulpes vulpes this gland is located 75 mm above the root of the tail on its upper surface and lies within the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The eyes of mature animals are yellow. The nose is dark brown or black. The dental formula is 3/3 1/1 4/4 2/3. The tooth row is more than half the length of the skull. The premolars are simple and pointed, with the exception of upper fourth premolars, the carnassials. Molar structure emphasizes crushing. The manus has 5 claws and the pes 4 claws. The first digit, or dew claw, is rudimentary but clawed and does not contact the ground.
Red foxes are the largest of the Vulpes species. Head and body length ranges from 455 to 900 mm, tail length from 300 to 555 mm, and weight from 3 to 14 kg. Males are slightly larger than females. Populations in southern deserts and in North America are smaller than European populations. Body mass and length among populations also varies with latitude (being larger in the north, according to Bergmann's rule).

Breeding interval
Red foxes breed once yearly.
Breeding season
Breeding season varies from region to region but usually begins in December or January in the south, January to February in the central regions, and February to April in the north.
Number of offspring
1 to 9; avg. 4.59
Gestation period
49 to 55 days; avg. 52 days
Birth Mass
100 g (average)
(3.52 oz)
[External Source: AnAge]
Time to weaning
56 to 70 days
Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
10 months (average)
Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
10 months (average)
Red fox mating behavior varies substantially. Often males and females are monogamous, but males with multiple female mates are also known, as are male/female pairs that use non-breeding female helpers in raising their young. Females mated to the same male fox may share a den. Red fox groups always have only one breeding male, but that male may also seek mating outside of the group.
The annual estrous period of female red foxes last from 1 to 6 days. Ovulation is spontaneous and does not require copulation to occur. The exact time of estrous and breeding varies across the broad geographic range of the species: December-January in the south, January-February in the central regions, and February-April in the north. Males will fight during the breeding season. Males have a cycle of fecundity, with full spermatogenesis only occurring from November to March. Females may mate with a number of males but will establish a partnership with only one male. Copulation usually lasts 15 or 20 minutes and is often accompanied by a vocal clamor. Implantation of the fertilized egg occurs between 10 and 14 days after a successful mating. Just before and for a time after giving birth the female remains in or around the den. The male partner will provision his mate with food but does not go into the maternity den. Gestation is typically between 51 and 53 days but can be as short as 49 days or as long as 56 days. Litters vary in size from 1 to 13 pups with an average of 5. Birth weight is between 50 and 150 g. The pups are born blind but open their eyes 9 to 14 days after birth. Pups leave the den 4 or 5 weeks after birth and are fully weaned by 8 to 10 weeks. Mother and pups remain together until the autumn after the birth. Sexual maturity is reached by 10 months.
Red fox males and females, and sometimes their older offspring, cooperate to care for the pups. Young remain in the den for 4 to 5 weeks, where they are cared for and nursed by their mother. They are nursed for 56 to 70 days and are provided with solid food by their parents and older siblings. The young remain with their parents at least until the fall of the year they were born in and will sometimes remain longer, especially females.
Extreme lifespan (captivity)
12 years (high)
Average lifespan (wild)
3 years
Red foxes have been known to live 10 to 12 years in captivity but live on average 3 years in the wild.

Territory Size
5 to 12 km^2
Red foxes are solitary animals and do not form packs like wolves. During some parts of the year adjacent ranges may overlap somewhat, but parts may be regularly defended. In other words, Vulpes vulpes is at least partly territorial. Ranges are occupied by an adult male and one or two adult females with their associated young. Individuals and family groups have main earthen dens and often other emergency burrows in the home range. Dens of other animals, such as rabbits or marmots, are often taken over by foxes. Larger dens may be dug and used during the winter and during birth and rearing of the young. The same den is often used over a number of generations. Pathways throughout the home range connect the main den with other resting sites, favored hunting grounds and food storage areas. Red foxes are terrestrial and either nocturnal or crepuscular. Top speed is about 48 km/h and obstacles as high as 2 m can be lept. In the autumn following birth, the pups of the litter will disperse to their own territories. Dispersal can be to areas as nearby as 10 km and as far away as almost 400 km. Animals remain in the same home range for life.

Home Range
Individual adults have home ranges that vary in size depending on the quality of the habitat. In good areas ranges may be between 5 and 12 square kilometers; in poorer habitats ranges are larger, between 20 and 50 square kilometers.
Communication and Perception
Red foxes use a variety of vocalizations to communicate among themselves. They also use facial expressions and scent marking extensively. Scent marking is through urine, feces, anal sac secretions, the supracaudal gland, and glands around the lips, jaw, and the pads of the feet. There have been 28 different kinds of vocalizations described in red foxes and individuals have voices that can be distinguished. Vocalizations are used to communicate with foxes that are both nearby and very far away. Red foxes have excellent senses of vision, smell, and touch.
Food Habits
Red foxes are essentially omnivores. They mostly eat rodents, eastern cottontail rabbits, insects, and fruit. They will also eat carrion. Red foxes also store food and are very good at relocating these caches. Red foxes have a characteristic manner of hunting mice. The fox stands motionless, listening and watching intently for a mouse it has detected. It then leaps high and brings the forelimbs straight down forcibly to pin the mouse to the ground. They eat between 0.5 and 1 kg of food each day.
Primary Diet:
Animal Foods:
birds; mammals; reptiles; carrion; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods.
Plant Foods:
Foraging Behaviors:
stores or caches food .

Known predators
• eagles (Accipitridae)
• coyotes (Canis latrans)
• gray wolves (Canis lupus)
• bears (Ursidae)
• mountain lions (Puma concolor)
• humans (Homo sapiens)
Most red foxes that are taken by natural predators are young pups. Pups are kept in and near a den and protected by their family to avoid this. Adult red foxes may also be attacked by coyotes, wolves, or other predators, but this is rarely in order to eat them. The most significant predators on red foxes are humans, who hunt foxes for their fur and kill them in large numbers as pests.
Ecosystem Roles
Red foxes help to control populations of their prey animals, such as rodents and rabbits. They also may disperse seeds by eating fruit.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Red foxes are considered by many to be threats to poultry. In general, foxes hunt their natural prey, but individual foxes may learn to target domestic birds if they are not adequately protected. Foxes are known vectors for rabies and can transmit the disease to humans and other animals.
Ways that these animals might be a problem for humans:
injures humans (carries human disease); causes or carries domestic animal disease .
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Red foxes are important fur bearers and more are raised on farms than any other wild fur bearing mammal. Red foxes also help to control populations of small rodents and rabbits and may disperse seeds.
Conservation Status
Three subspecies are listed in CITES appendix III. Overall, red fox populations are stable and they have expanded their range in response to human changes in habitats.

A fox is a member of any of 27 species of small omnivorous
canids. The animal most commonly called a fox in the
Western world is the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), although
different species of foxes can be found on almost every
continent. The presence of foxes all over the globe has led
to their appearance in the popular culture and folklore of
many nations, tribes, and other cultural groups.

Fox terminology is different from that used for most canids. Male foxes are known as dogs, tods or Reynard, females are referred to as vixens, and their young are called kits or cubs, as well as pups. A group of foxes is a skulk. The eponymous name 'Charlie' is derived from Charles James Fox who was a disliked landowner in the eighteenth century.

With most species roughly the size of a domestic cat, foxes are smaller than other members of the family Canidae, such as wolves, jackals, and domestic dogs. Recognizable characteristics also include pointed muzzles and bushy tails. Other physical characteristics vary according to their habitat. For example, the Desert Fox has large ears and short fur, whereas the Arctic Fox has small ears and thick, insulating fur.

Unlike many canids, foxes are not pack animals. They are solitary, opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey (especially rodents). Using a pouncing technique practiced from an early age, they are usually able to kill their prey quickly. Foxes also gather a wide variety of other foods ranging from grasshoppers to fruit and berries.

Foxes are nearly always extremely wary of humans, and are not kept as pets, but the Silver Fox was successfully domesticated in Russia after a 45 year selective breeding program. However, foxes are to be readily found in cities and domestic gardens.

Foxes do not come together in chorus like wolves or coyotes do. Fox families, however, keep in contact with a wide array of different sounds. These sounds grade into one another and span five octaves; each fox has its own characteristically individual voice. Fox noises can be divided, with a few exceptions, into two different groups: contact sounds and interaction sounds. The former is used by foxes communicating over long distances, the latter in close quarters.

"Wow-wow-wow": The most well-known vulpine noise is a sort of barking that spans three to five syllables. "Conversations" made up of these noises often occur between widely spaced foxes. As their distance decreases, the sound becomes quieter. A cub is greeted with the quietest version of this sound.

The alarm bark: This monosyllabic sound is made by an adult to warn cubs of danger. From far away it sounds like a sharp bark, but at closer range it resembles a muffled cough, like a football rattle or a stick along a picket fence.

Gekkering: This is a stuttering, throaty noise made at aggressive encounters. It is most frequently heard in the courting season, or when kits are at play.

The vixen's wail: This is a long, drawn-out, monosyllabic, and rather eerie wail most commonly made during the breeding season; it is widely thought that it is made by a vixen in heat summoning dog-foxes. Contrary to common belief, however, it is also made by the males, evidently serving some other purpose as well. This noise fits into neither the contact nor the interaction group.

In some countries, such as Australia, with no strong competitors, imported foxes quickly devastate native wildlife and become a serious invasive pest. On the other hand, many fox species are endangered. Foxes can be used for helpful environmental purposes as well. They have been successfully employed to control pests on fruit farms, leaving the fruit intact.

Historians believe foxes were being imported into non-native environments long before the colonial era. The first example of the introduction of the fox into a new habitat by humans seems to be Neolithic Cyprus. Stone carvings representing foxes have been found in the early settlement of Göbekli Tepe in eastern Turkey
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Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Names: Red Fox, Silver Fox, Cross Fox; [French] Renard roux; [Spanish] Zorro, Zorro Rojo
Synonyms: Canis vulpes Linnaeus, 1758

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