Urban Wildlife - Fox

Fox (Vulpes vulpes) © Darin Smith

Fascinating Fact about Fox

European foxes can be found all over Britain. Traditionally thought of as being sly and cunning, they are indeed very clever and adaptable creatures. As a result they are at home in both the city and countryside. Whilst hunted in the past, fox hunting is now banned, but foxes are not welcomed by everyone and still suffer cruelty in some areas.

All about Fox

What to look for

Foxes are very distinctive, but people are often surprised at just how small they are and the fact that the colour of the fur can vary from deep reddish brown to almost blonde. They have a similar shape to a small dog with characteristic muzzle, pointed ears and bushy tail or ‘brush’.

When and Where to see

You are most likely to see foxes at dawn or dusk and you may also hear them howling at night, particularly in the breeding season. They do not hibernate, so can be seen all year round, and in the summer you may be lucky enough to see the cubs playing. Traditionally most foxes lived in rural areas, in a series of underground tunnels known as dens. In recent times urban foxes have become more and more common. This may be due to a lack of food in the countryside and an increasing tendency to scavenge – mostly from rubbish bins and food such as discarded take-away meals. A fox’s territory can range from 2km2 in urban areas to 40km2 in the countryside.

 

Did you know?

  • A major reason for the fox’s success is its varied eating habits. Foxes are omnivores, which means they will eat virtually anything they come across. They have a reputation for taking poultry, but more often eat such undesirables as rats and slugs, along with fruit, berries, roots, ‘carrion’ (animal remains) and in cities, discarded chips and pizzas!
  • Foxes usually live for 1-2 years, although they have been known to live to 9 years. They are territorial, and for most of the year they live in small family groups.
  • Foxes mate in January. The cubs are born in March, and looked after by the ‘vixens’ (females) of the family. The cubs grow fast and through play, learn to fend for themselves. This means that adults often leave them alone for long periods. If you find cubs you think have been abandoned it is important not to interfere with them as the vixens will usually return for them. Orphaned cubs are often cared for by other family members. Between August and November the cubs leave the family group to find new territories, often taking over from old and weak adults.
  • Whilst some people do see them as pests, it is illegal to use poisoned bait to kill foxes because of the risk of poisoning other species. A range of control measures are legal, but there are considerable concerns that a number of these are  unnecessarily cruel.
    There are many harmless products available, based on the chemical renardine, to discourage foxes that are causing a  problem.
    For further information please contact Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

Links & Downloads

Videos on Fox

Willow the Fox

Check out this great little stop motion animation film, made for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Wildlife in the City project, by volunteer Sneha Uplekar. To find out more about Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Wildlife in the City click the link

Running time 1.33 min

Photos

Other Urban Wildlife to check out

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