Fox Fact Sheet by JoeyVagana


									Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Fox Fact Sheet
scavengers as well as hunters using their acute hearing to locate and ambush prey in long grass or stalking prey in the open. They eat small mammals, invertebrates such as earthworms and beetles, birds, fruit carrion and food scraps. They eat between 0.5 and 1kg of food a day. Where prey is abundant, such as hens, foxes sometimes kill excess prey. It is a common misconception that they do this due to ‘blood-lust’ but they bury the food and retrieve it when food is short. They are very good at relocating stored food. Foxes are often considered pests by sheep farmers but studies have shown that foxes take very few lambs and those that they take tend to be stillborn or unwell. BREEDING Foxes breed once a year between December and February, getting later further north. Females may mate with multiple males but will establish a pair with one of them. Females produce a litter of four or five cubs in March/April each year after a gestation of around 52 days. She does so in a den which is either entirely dug by the foxes or is a modified tunnel made by another animal. The male brings food to the female but does not enter the maternity den. The cubs are born blind and deaf and stay in the den for the first two weeks of their lives. At about four weeks old, in April and May, they emerge from the den. They reach maturity at around 8 to 10 months and disperse from the den to find their own territories. SOCIAL ORGANISATION Foxes usually hunt alone and rarely share food unless they are courting or feeding young. Pairs of foxes are usually monogamous but some males (dog) have more than one mate and they may all live together in one den. Occasionally multiple females (vixens) will raise a litter of cubs belonging to one of them. Typical family groups of foxes consisting of a dog, a vixen and their cubs, hold territories which range in size and can contain several dens. Foxes communicate body language and vocalisations. They can make up to 30 different sounds including long distance yelping sounds and loud screams much like a human. They also rely heavily on scent to communicate using faeces, anal sac secretions and other glands on their feet and mouth. THREATS Foxes are not a protected species and have only one natural predator in Britain, the golden eagle, which is restricted to the Scottish highlands. Road accidents are the primary cause of death for foxes. Foxes are often regarded as vermin as they can kill livestock and gamebirds. They are therefore often controlled by shooting, poisoning and snares. Some hunting with hounds is permitted although not with large packs. Despite culling there is no evidence to suggest foxes have disappeared from any area of Britain as a result. Foxes are also at risk of habitat loss but can adapt well to changing environments and food availability so do not need specialist conservation measures. WHERE TO SEE THEM Good places to see foxes include Chafer Wood, Sprotbrough Flash, and Woodhouse Washlands. USEFUL WEBSITES
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Credit - Wildstock

Credit - Wildstock

DESCRIPTION The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is 60-70cm long plus its tail which is 40cm long (roughly the size of a small dog). The approximate weight of a fox is 5-7kg. It is reddish-brown in colour with a white chin and chest and black ears and legs. They are well known for their thick bushy tail with a white tip which means they are agile and balance well. They are widespread in Britain. Foxes are most active at dusk and during the night but may be seen during the day in quiet areas. HABITAT Foxes occupy a diverse range of habitats including urban areas and thrive particularly well in agricultural areas. They generally prefer a mixed landscape with scrub woodland and farmland and particularly favour edge habitats which offer them cover when hunting. They are very adaptable to changes in landscape which explains their widespread occurrence. DIET Although they classed as carnivores, foxes are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of food. They are active

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