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Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are canids that have extremely broad international geographic scopes. These principally nocturnal creatures live practically all over the planet, including Asia, Europe and North America. Red foxes are tough and independent animals that can frequently adjust to new living environments with ease. They have several beneficial adaptations that assist them in day-to-day survival.
Red foxes are mostly reddish-orange or yellowish-red in coloring, although their lower portions, chests and necks are white. Their limbs are also black. Mature red foxes usually weigh between 8 and 12 pounds, with overall lengths of 48 to 57 inches. Females are usually a little smaller than the males. The omnivorous foxes consume a lot of flesh -- think waterfowl, reptiles, voles, rabbits, mice, rats, squirrels, amphibians and bugs. Outside of meat, they also eat grass, berries, nuts and, occasionally, fruit, such as apples and grapes. Some common living environments for them are tundras, agricultural sites, meadows, woodlands, mountains and parks.
One survival adaptation of red foxes involves feeding. When sustenance is plentiful, red foxes stash away additional food for later use. They do this by burying it into the ground, whether in soil or snow. They also frequently hide it under layers of things such as foliage and grass. In order to label it as their own, they often will spray urine over it.
Red foxes are highly adept hunters, and have the necessary senses to help them in their endeavors. Their senses of smell, vision and hearing are all strong. Red foxes are capable of picking up on low frequencies -- a plus for going after tiny creatures, as many of their typical prey animals are.
Fast running is a helpful survival method often employed by red foxes. If red foxes are faced with threats from predators such as bobcats, gray wolves and coyotes, for example, they can often easily flee the situations by running away. Not only are they extremely rapid runners, they have lots of stamina, as well. Their tiny stomachs and lengthy limbs enable them to plow through at close to 30 miles per hour. As slight and trim creatures, running is a major advantage for them.
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species: Vulpes vulpes
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Vulpes vulpes
- PBS Nature: Animal Guide - Red Fox
- Fairfax County Public Schools: Red Fox
- Denali National Park & Preserve: Red Fox
- Rosamund Gifford Zoo: Red Fox
- WAZA: Red Fox
- NatureWorks: Red Fox
- Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images