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Red Fox: Vulpes vulpes

Appearance:

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has the appearance of a small dog and weighs from 10 to 15 pounds and measures up to 2 feet long with another foot for a bushy tail.  The end of the tail is black, tipped with white. Because the gray fox  (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) frequently has quite a lot of red hair, it may be confused with the red fox.

Habitat:

The red fox is probably not native to Florida except in the northern Panhandle.  it has been introduced by hunting clubs, and is now found in many areas of the state.   It is normally found in uplands mixed with fields and weedy pastures.  Unlike the gray fox it avoids heavily wooded areas.

Behavior:

The red fox is essentially a nocturnal animal, but occasionally feeds during the day, and more at dawn and dusk. 

Breeding takes place in late fall or early winter.   A pair usually mates for life. An average of 5 pups are born after a gestation period of about 53 days.  At birth the pups are blind, helpless, and   brownish-black. They nurse for about two months and stay with their parents for about 6 months.  The den site is usually a dug out underground burrow, through they sometimes may enlarge the burrow of gopher tortoise or armadillo.  The dens are usually 20-40 feet long and 3-4 deep, with multiple entrances.

Red foxes mainly eat small mammals such as rabbits, rats, and mice.  If food is plentiful, they may kill more than they immediately need, and cache the extra in the ground. 

The fox, both gray and red, are subject to epizootics of rabies, but this has not been a serious problem in Florida.

Additional Information:


Image Credit: USFWS



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