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Red Fox Notecard



Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

The red fox is renowned among the members of the canine family. With keen eyesight, sharp hearing and a powerful sense of smell, the red fox is graced with a quiet and sometimes catlike stalk. Red foxes are nocturnal, using the cover of dusk, dark or dawn as well as their camouflaged fur to remain hidden. Foxes are seen only when they want to be seen.

Their fur is often the rusty orange color red foxes are associated with, however, they can also be seen in silver-black coats and in lighter yellow-red. The one common feature found in all red foxes is a white tail tip.

The red fox is amazingly adaptable. They love edges- between cities and suburbs, beaches and dunes, and fields and woodlands. Their dens are in burrows, often ones abandoned by other animals. A female fox, also known as a vixen, usually has 4-6 kits. The male fox brings food to the vixen until she can leave the den to get food for herself and the kits. Young foxes spend months playing and learning to hunt. If they survive this first year they may live to be 5-6 years old.

Despite a reputation for raiding chicken coops, many farmers see the red fox as beneficial. One of their favorite foods is mice; their consumption of grain-eating rodents as well as insects such as grasshoppers far outweighs the loss of a few occasional chickens.

People in many cultures have looked to the red fox for wisdom and inspiration. To have fox energy means to be aware, to know when to be out in the open and when to remain hidden and silent. You are most likely to see a fox “slipping betwixt and between” the edges of nature.

artwork by Steve Sierigk © 2001 
text by Beth Bannister