Red Fox

A very versatile species, the red fox is now the most widely distributed wild canid in the world and has adapted well to city life. The red fox is a large fox with a rusty, red-brown coat and a darker bushy tail with a white tip.


The ghostly shrieks of these foxes, heard late at night during the courtship period, can be quite alarming. The female is known as a vixen while the male is described as a dog fox. A pair will dig an underground burrow, sometimes under a building. Their cubs will be born here in the summer. The red foxes will generally remain with their parents over the winter. Male offspring are then likely to wander off further than female offspring in search of territories.

A litter of 4 young is born after a gestation of between 51 and 63 days. The male hunts for food until the female is able to leave the cubs alone to hunt herself or else to take them out foraging.


Distribution: Occurs in the northern hemisphere, from above the line of latitude marking 30°N up to the Arctic. Also present in North Africa. Has been introduced to Australia.

Habitat: Able to colonize almost any habitat available.

Weight: 3 - 1O kg (6.5-22 lb); those from northern areas are heavier.

Length: 90 - 139 cm (36 - 55 in).

Maturity: 1-2 years.

Gestation Period: 53 days.

Breeding: Average 3 - 4, but up to 12 recorded; weaning occurs at around 60 days.

Food: Animals and birds up to 3 kg (6.5 lb); also scavenges and eats berries, fruit, vegetables, kitchen scraps, and carrion.

Lifespan: Typically 3 - 5 years, but can be up to 12.

Status: Common.


The red colouration of these foxes varies between individuals and also reflects their environment. It is generally darker in loses living in areas.


The tail of the red fox is known as the brush. It is well-covered in fur and always ends in a white tip. It can be kept low, as here, but is raised when the fox is on the move or excited.

The front feet of these foxes are narrower than their hind feet.


These foxes adapt their hunting technique to suit the environment in which they are hunting, as well as their prey.