Grey Fox

These attractively coloured canids differ from other species of fox in that they are adept at climbing, rather than spending all their time on the ground.

They are found in woodlands and forests. Their range continues down the western side of Central America to northern Colombia. They are not found in the Rockies and other mountain ranges of the western United States and Canada, nor in the highlands of Central America. They are also absent from the Great Plains region.

Grey foxes have the bushy tail and large ears that typify foxes. The features that distinguish them from other foxes are the grizzled underparts and black tip to the tail.

Grey foxes live in pairs. A mature fox has only one sexual partner during each breeding season, the timing of which depends on the location. For example, Canadian grey foxes breed in April, while those in the southern United States mate in February. They usually occupy a den in a hollow tree or under tree roots, where they will rest during the day, emerging at dusk and hunting under cover of darkness. They can be at risk from attack by coyotes, and being able to climb helps them escape their larger relatives. The family group usually stays together, but the young will occasionally stay with their parents until the following breeding season to help raise the next litter. Grey foxes are unusual for dogs because they climb trees in search of prey such as insects and birds. They also eat fruits.

Distribution: Ranges from southern parts of Canada, across much of the USA down through Mexico and Central America, as far as Colombia and Venezuela in northern South America.

Habitat: Woodland.

Weight: 2.5 - 6.5 kg (5.5 - 14 lb); males are slightly larger.

Length: 81 - 113 cm (32 - 44 in); up to 30 cm (12 in) tall.

Maturity: 8 - 9 months.

Gestation Period: 51 - 63 days; weaning occurs at 5 weeks.

Breeding: About 4 pups born in spring.

Food: Omnivorous, feeding on small mammals; also eats fruit and vegetable matter.

Lifespan: 4-6 years in the wild; up to 13 in captivity.

Tail

The tail is bushy with a black tip.

Stripe

A blackish stripe runs down the centre of the back.

Colouration

Grey fur predominates, particularly over the back, with white on the underparts and a noticeable chestnut-red bib.

Feet

The feet are strong, equipped with powerful claws that help the fox to maintain its grip.

Food is brought home for the family.

HEAD FOR HEIGHTS

These foxes will climb trees in search of lizards and young birds, which they will steal from nests. They can jump well if necessary.

Gallery of Grey Fox