gray fox

Gray Fox: Urocyon cinereoargenteus

Appearance:

Because the gray fox  (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) frequently has quite a lot of red hair, it may be confused with the red fox, and is sometimes referred to as a "red-sided gray". The adult gray fox may weigh from 7 to 13 pounds and measure up to 40 inches including a 12 inch tail. The female is slightly smaller than the male. The hair along the middle of the back and tail is tipped in black and has the appearance of a black mane. The face, sides, back, and tail are gray, while the under parts are white and the sides of the neck and underside of the tail a rusty-yellow color.

Habitat:

The gray fox is widespread across most of the United States except northern plains and Rockies. While found throughout Florida, it is much more abundant in the northern sections. Normally found in wooded areas, as it prefers to live in more inaccessible cover.

Behavior:

The gray fox is essentially a nocturnal animal, and while seldom recognized, it has a yapping bark. The gray fox sometimes referred to as the "tree fox" can scramble-up a tree quickly, and is the only member of the dog family capable of climbing.

Mating takes place in January, February, or March. An average of three to five young (pups) are born after a gestation period of about 63 days. Pups are brownish-black and fully furred, but blind for the first nine days. They nurse for about two months and stay with their parents until late summer or fall. Both male and female are devoted parents and provide food, care, and training to the youngsters. The den site may be hollow logs, gopher holes or hollow trees.

Mice, rats and rabbits are the mainstays of the gray fox's diet, although it will consume almost anything edible. All types of small birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, fruits, berries, insects, and some carrion serve to supplement the diet. The gray fox seldom raids the farmer's hen house, as it prefers to live in wilder, more dense brushy cover. While gray fox serve to maintain a balance in the rodent and rabbit populations, they, in turn, are preyed upon by dogs and bobcats, and young fox may fall to the owl, hawk, or coyote.

Major factors governing population of gray fox are food and cover. The foxes, both gray and red, are subject to epizootics of rabies.

Additional Information:


Image Credit:



FWC Facts:
Bowhunter Field Day is a hands-on, constructive experience covering bow setup and shooting, field walks, blood-trail exercises, tree stands, equipment preparation and survival.

Learn More at AskFWC