Red Fox

Banner Red Fox

Fun Facts

  • Red foxes can come in a variety of colors including black and a light blonde color. They are still red foxes, though, it is just a variation in their coat color.
  • Foxes have a really strong smell that some may mistake for a skunk. This is one reason why they do not make great pets!
  • Foxes have over 28 different vocalizations and individuals have their own unique calls.

SCIENTIFIC NAME
Vulpes vulpes

CLASS
Mammal

FAMILY
Canidae

HABITAT
Forest, tundra, prairie, desert, mountains, farmlands and urban areas

DIET
Fruit, birds, mammals, reptiles, carrion, insects

SIZE
Can weigh from 6–30 pounds

RANGE
Throughout most of the northern hemisphere, including central Asia and northern Africa. Also introduced to Australia and other islands.

RELATIVES
Coyotes, dogs, foxes, jackals, wolves

Natural History

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) can be found throughout North America and much of the northern hemisphere including central Asia and northern Africa. Their resilience and ability to adapt has allowed them to flourish in various environments such as forests, tundra, prairies, deserts, mountains, and even urban areas. Their adaptability is due mostly to the flexibility of their natural diet. As omnivores, they feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, other small game, fish, frogs, and fruits and vegetables.

While red foxes can live up to 15 years in a zoological setting, their lifespan in the wild is substantially shorter at about three years. This is due to predation, competition for resources, and hunting/trapping either for sport or wildlife pest control. Such a short lifespan in the wild means that vixens (females) reach sexual maturity at around 10 months of age. Breeding occurs in the winter, and the vixen typically gives birth to a litter of two to 12 pups in the spring. Both parents care for the pups until the fall, at which point the pups disperse and find their own territories. Red foxes are solitary hunters and each territory only has one adult male and one to two adult females.

Due to the red fox’s long history and interactions with humans, they have become iconic characters in classic literature throughout the world. They are often depicted as mischievous, wily, and cunning—all the while still being likable or even loveable. Even the old adage “crazy like a fox” is meant to describe someone as peculiar or foolish, but actually very clever. Here at Maymont, we simply celebrate and appreciate them for all of their natural talents!

Adopt an Animal

Did you know it takes $500,000 each year to feed and care for the animals at Maymont? Your support of the Maymont Adopt an Animal Program helps provide food, care and enrichment to keep the rescued animals active, healthy and engaged.