The Red Fox is the only member of the Canid (dog) family in the UK. A lot of the time, they are seen as pests by farmers and the public as they have a reputation for stealing chickens and going through our rubbish when scavenging for food.
Red Foxes however do have quite a varied diet and will eat small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and well as berries and fruit. Due to the multitude of habitats they can be found in, from forests to urban cities, they have become highly adaptable to thrive in these places, which is why they will scavenge for food anywhere, including our bins.
Their range outside the UK extends all the way across Europe and all the way into Asia, and also into the Middle East. They have also been introduced in a number of places, including Australia and New Zealand. They are also found across the United States. They have a widespread across the UK, however they are absent for the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, the Scottish islands and the Isle of Man.
The Red Fox can be found in a variety of habitats, including grassland, heathland and moorland, farmland, woodland and towns and gardens. They tend to be out during crepuscular (dawn and dusk) hours and throughout the night as they are rather nocturnal. If you’re out early in the morning or late in the evening, you stand a good chance of seeing one.
Red Foxes have a global IUCN Red List Status of Least Concern with a stable population trend; however, the number of mature individuals is not recorded on the IUCN website.
They are easily identifiable, being a medium-sized dog with an orangey-red fur on the back, sides and head, a white belly, black tips on the ears, dark brown feet and a white tip on the end of the bushy, orange tail (the tail is also known as the ‘brush’).
Red foxes are 62-72cm in length from the snout to the bass of the tail, the tail is 40cm long, on average they weigh 5-7kg and they have an average lifespan of 2-3 years.
Foxes will typically mate during the winter. The female (vixen) will give birth to a litter containing 2-12 pups. The pups are born with a brown or grey coat rather than red as it helps to disguise them better while they are vulnerable and defenceless. The orange-red coat will start to grow in when they are around a month old. Both of the parents will look after the pups throughout the summer until they are big enough and ready to go out on their own in the autumn.