Just call him Fantastic Mr Fox! Foxes are amazing animals, but how much do you know about them?
Check out our fox facts below!
- Foxes are a type of mammal the size of a large pet cat or a small dog. The red fox is the most common type of fox, but there are about 47 different subspecies of red fox!
- The type of fox found in the UK is the European fox. These generally have red fur, a white chest and a big bushy tail, known as a brush.
- Foxes belong to the dog family and use similar facial expressions and body postures to pet dogs, such as wagging their tails when greeting family members.
- Foxes live in the countryside and now are often seen in towns and cities across the UK.
- In the countryside, foxes tend to live in underground lairs or dens, sometimes taking over empty tunnels dug by other animals.
- Foxes have a ‘territory’, an area which they live in and patrol for food. If a fox dies, another fox will often take over the territory within a few days.
- Foxes are nocturnal so they tend to keep out of sight during the day, but can sometimes be seen taking a nap in the sun if you’re lucky.
- Foxes in the UK countryside will eat pretty much anything, including insects, worms and berries. They are carnivores so will eat other animals such as birds and small mammals, and will eat chickens or small pets if they are given the chance.
- Foxes don’t ‘kill for fun’. If they find a large supply of food (such as in a chicken coop) they will kill all the animals with the intention of taking away anything they don’t eat to store it for later. This is similar behaviour to other carnivores like lions.
- In urban areas, they will tend to eat anything they can get, including most things that humans throw away.
- Because foxes will eat animals raised by humans – such as chickens or lambs – humans often see foxes as the enemy. This is why humans have sometimes portrayed foxes as being bad, cunning or ‘mass killers’. But they are none of these things – they are just wild animals!
- Foxes are recognised as being intelligent. As a species they have survived and adapted for centuries – the reduction of their natural habitat in the countryside has led to the increase of foxes in towns and cities, as they have learned to live and survive in new places.
- Foxes are often targeted and killed by farmers who claim to want to protect their livestock. Many farmers though live happily alongside foxes by taking sensible precautions to protect their animals, such as fencing.
- Sheep farmers often blame foxes for the death of lambs, but a study in Scotland suggests that foxes are only responsible for a tiny number of lamb deaths.