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7 Fun Facts about Foxes

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4 March, 2023

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Your kids may have read about foxes in folklore. They might have even watched them on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic. But while they appear to be mystical creatures that belong in a fantasy world, foxes are very much real and alive in the real world.

Foxes used to be found all over Europe, in temperate Asia, and in Northern America. Nowadays, they mostly roam around North America and Australia. Usually found in mountain forests, grasslands, and deserts, foxes are interesting creatures with different species worldwide!

Ready to learn more about foxes? Let’s go!

Foxes in a Nutshell: Some Fun Facts

Foxes are generally described in myths and folklore as wild, wise, and brave. All of these hold true, but there are still more interesting facts your kids will enjoy knowing about foxes!

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  1. There Are 37 Types Of Foxes

Out of these 37, only 12 are considered as “true foxes” under the genus Vulpes, a sub-family of the Caninae. The true foxes are:

  • Red fox
  • Fennec fox
  • Pale fox
  • Cape fox
  • Ruppell’s fox
  • Tibetan sand fox
  • Arctic fox
  • Bengal fox
  • Blanford’s fox
  • Corsac fox
  • Kit fox
  • Swift fox

Out of all types of foxes, the most common is the red fox. You might have already seen one! These have red fur, grayish-white bellies, black feet, and long snouts. Red foxes are also the most widespread meat-eating mammal. They live in forests, mountains, and even deserts.

If someone keeps any type of fox as a pet for any mundane reason, they can live for 14 years, but foxes left in their natural habitat can live thrice as long!

  1. Foxes Can Live in Urban Areas

While foxes have diverse habitats in the form of grasslands and forests, their habitats are referred to as ‘dens’ or ‘earth.’ The most common dens can be found in forests where foxes dig underground burrows all by themselves! This provides them a shelter to stay and sleep whenever they prefer.

Contrary to popular belief, foxes also live in urban areas! So, do not be shocked to see a few of them when you pass by empty lots or even old abandoned buildings!

Food is also not a problem for foxes that live in urban areas. Diet? They don’t know that! As omnivorous mammals, foxes are not picky eaters. They eat small animals like birds, mice, spiders, and even berries and worms!

  1. There Are 40 Distinct Fox Sounds

You might wonder how foxes talk to each other. Like most animals, foxes have their language manifested in different sounds. They can make up to 40 distinct sounds—all representing a different meaning in their language.

But even if they communicate through sounds, foxes are still discreet, especially when hunting. Have you ever heard of the phrase sly as a fox? This comes from foxes being clever and cunning. They develop crafty ways of hunting their peers, associating them with impressive trickery.

  1. Foxes Have Strong Sense of Hearing and Smell

Are these cats? Wolves? Here are some fun facts about foxes’ physical traits that will help you know one when you see one! 

Courtesy of Pexels

Their exceptional hearing is not a surprise, thanks to their large, triangular ears! Red foxes can even hear a ticking clock even from 40 yards away!

Aside from hearing, foxes also heavily rely on their sense of smell. Food buried underground is not safe from foxes; they can still find them despite the smell of the ground!

Foxes’ whiskers are not only found on their face but also their legs! This helps them navigate when wandering around or hunting preys.  Never dream of foxes chasing you. They can run up to 30 miles an hour!

Foxes, Family, and Friends

To understand foxes better, it is also essential to know about the family they belong to. Your kids will also be interested in discovering their similarities with their animal friends!

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  1. Foxes Belong To The Family of Dogs

Which family do foxes belong to? Don’t be confused. Like wolves, foxes belong to the family of dogs.

We get the confusion of foxes being in the dog’s family, though! Foxes’ unique personality traits are more related to cats. They even act like cats, but they are not related! They are also the only canines who can retract their claws like felines.

Like cats—again, not related—foxes are nocturnal animals. 

  1. Different Terms Are Used To Refer To Foxes

You can use “leash” or “skulk” to refer to a group of foxes.

Male foxes are called Dog foxes, while females are called vixens. Baby foxes are called cubs or pups

  1. Foxes Are Solitary Animals

Do not be worried if you see them alone—foxes are solitary animals! They are usually alone when they hunt and sleep. They only stay with other foxes when they are still raising their cubs. Even for foxes, it takes a village to raise their child!

Parent foxes stay with packs when they raise their cubs because these babies are unable to see, hear or walk when they are born. They will still need their mother’s care and their father’s hunting expertise!

Frequently Asked Questions on Foxes

What is unique about a fox?

The confusion on which family foxes belong stems from their behavior as cats, but belonging to the canine family. They are the only dogs that can retract their claws like cats! Their pupils are also vertical, more similar to cats than the rounded pupils of their fellow dogs! 

How intelligent are foxes?

From the phrase sly as a fox, you can already conclude that foxes are crafty and intelligent. They are smarter than most members of the canine family! They are more intelligent when hunting prey, escaping predators, and raising their cubs. 

What do foxes do for fun?

While foxes are solitary animals, they still find ways to have fun alone! They steal golf balls from golf courses or run around on their own! If foxes find a friend—such as a deer or other animals—they can also have fun and play with them.

Are foxes human-friendly?

Foxes belong in their natural habitat in the wild. But if you encounter one, it will not automatically attack you, except when they are rabid. Foxes only become rabid if they are captured or handled, though. Their immediate response is still to flee instead of attack! 

What are foxes scared of?

Be careful with loud noises, water hoses, and guns around them. The Humane Society advises anyone to contact their local animal control agency if they have encounters with foxes who are rabid and show signs of rabies or mange.

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