These foxes are the most common type of fox in the world and are the type that we find in urban areas and who come into our gardens in the UK. It used to be that grey wolves were the most common canines across the globe, however it has now been officially documented that the red fox has overtaken them.
Vulpes Vulpes (to give the red fox it’s latin name) are actually part of the dog family, albeit the smallest members and can grow up to around 5kgs when fully grown. Their life expectancy is quite wide ranging and can differ depending on whether their habitat is in the city or in the countryside. Many cubs don’t make it past 2 years old, although foxes held in captivity have been known to live for 15 years.
The mating season for foxes normally occurs in December and January and their mating rituals often involves blood curdling screaming as a form of communication. Red fox cubs (or kits) are born into a fox ‘earth’ (a den located in a secluded place) and usually only leave after a few weeks. The red fox cubs become independent at around 3 or 4 months and can start to produce offspring of their own after about 1 year.
The Red Fox is able to live in all sorts of adverse conditions and is very adaptable to it’s environment. Hence it’s success in surviving in urban areas, particularly in the cities of London and Bristol. They have been known to feed on lots of different prey which has helped their survival. Mice, voles and rats are common prey but they also earthworms as well as food scraps left out in gardens.
The red fox can often divide opinion in urban areas, with some people enjoying them and encourage the fox into their gardens, whilst others see them as a pest and seek to purchase various fox repellent products to keep the foxes away. In the countryside too, farmers often have a love-hate relationship with the red fox. On the one hand the fox is seen as a danger to chickens and lambs, on the other they keep rabbits and rodents off of farmland. Some common fox deterrent methods in the country are snares, fox traps and electric fences.
The red fox has undergone some harsh treatment throughout the ages through fox hunting, the fox fur trade and a recent backlash caused by a few high profile fox attacks on humans. The red fox is however a very durable creature and far from declining, their numbers seem to be steadily increasing, meaning that love them or hate them, the red fox is here to stay.