Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids (slightly smaller than a medium-sized domestic dog), characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail (or brush).
Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to the Vulpes genus of “true foxes”. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes
In the wild, foxes can live for up to 10 years, but most foxes only live for 2 to 3 years due to hunting, road accidents and diseases. Foxes are generally smaller than other members of the family Canidae such as wolves, jackals and domestic dogs. Male foxes are called Reynards, and weigh, on average, around 5.9 kilograms (13lb) while female foxes, called vixens, weigh less, at around 5.2 kilograms (11.5lb). Fox-like features typically include a distinctive muzzle (a “fox face”) and bushy tail.
Litter sizes can vary greatly according to species and environment – the Arctic fox, for example, has an average litter of four to five, with eleven as maximum.
Unlike many canids, foxes are not always pack animals. Typically, they live in small family groups, and are opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey (especially rodents). Using a pouncing technique practiced from an early age, they are usually able to kill their prey quickly. Foxes also gather a wide variety of other foods ranging from grasshoppers to fruit and berries.
Foxes are normally extremely wary of humans and are not usually kept as indoor pets; however, the silver fox was successfully domesticated in Russia after a 45-year selective breeding program. This selective breeding also resulted in physical and behavioral traits appearing that are frequently seen in domestic cats, dogs, and other animals, such as pigmentation changes, floppy ears, and curly tails.
Foxes are omnivores. The diet of foxes is largely made up of invertebrates and small mammals, reptiles (such as snakes) and all other kinds of small animals. Many species are generalist predators. Most species of fox generally consume around 1kg of food every day. Foxes cache excess food, burying it for later consumption, usually under leaves, snow, or soil.
Foxes are readily found in cities and cultivated areas and (depending upon species) seem to adapt reasonably well to human presence although can become pests due to their foraging nature, particularly in domestic & commercial rubbish.
Why are foxes pests?
Fox attacks on humans are not common but have been reported. In July 2002, a 14-week-old baby was attacked in a house in Dartford, Kent, United Kingdom. In June 2010, 9-month-old twin girls were bitten on the arms and face when a fox entered their upstairs room in east London. In February 2013 a 4-week-old baby boy was attacked at his home in South London
In addition to the above, foxes become pests due to their foraging nature, particularly in domestic & commercial rubbish.