Red foxes are the largest member of the twelve true foxes. Apart from their size, a red fox is distinguished from other fox species by it's ability to adapt quickly to new enviroments, and are a very wide spread species becasue of that.
In the wild, foxes will usually live together in pairs or small family groups, living in dens underground that can be between 1ft-8ft underground and up to 56ft long with multiple entrances and exits.
They mainly eat small rodents, rabbits, game birds, small reptiles, invertebrates, and sometimes even young goats or sheep if they are easily accessable. Fruit and vegetable matter is also a small portion of their diet, but they don't eat it as often.
Females are called vixens, males are called dogs or todds, and babies are usually referred to as kits, but are sometimes called cubs or pups as well. Foxes only have kits once a year in the spring and generally have between 4-6 kits, although litters can be as large as a dozen or so in rare cases.
Vixens are very good mothers and will not leave the kits for the first 2-3 weeks, during which time her mate will care for her.
Sadly in the wild, red foxes normally have short lives, generally with most living 3-5years. Their predators include coyotes, gray wolves, eagles, bears, mountain lions, and their main predator being humans.
Another resident of Exotic Pet Wonderland is the arctic fox. The arctic fox is a bit smaller than the red foxes, and have a handful of other interesting differences as well. Due to living in some of the coldest regions in the world, arctic foxes are built to handle extreme cold with their thick coats and compact body shape, having a short muzzle, legs, and short thick ears. They are also the only canid whose foot pads are covered in fur. Arctics come in two distinct coat colors in the wild, white and blue. White arctic foxes change seasonally to be camouflaged to their enviroment, being white in the winter and changing to brown with light gray along their abdomen in the summer. The blue arctic fox is often dark blue in summer and slightly lighter blue or gray in winter.
Arctic foxes generally eat any small animal they can find, including lemmings, voles, hares, birds, eggs, fish, and carrion. They'll also eat berries and seaweed when it's available, but they are mainly a bird egg predator, consuming eggs of most bird species. They don't hibernate, but they'll build up fat reserves in autumn, sometimes increasing their weight by 50%, and because of the harsh winters in their enviroment, when food is overabundant they are known to cache a surplus of food as a reserve.
They are found in Northern Europe, Northern Asia, North America, and are the only land mammal native to Iceland. Since they mainly live in areas where food is harder to find, arctic foxes have been known to make trips within their home range that usually last around three days and can happen a few times a month. They can travel up to as much as ninety-six miles in one day, but because of this, they are at more risk to be seen or attacked by predators, so their mortality rate is much higher than foxes who stay in one area. In the wild, arctic foxes normally don't live past their first year sadly.
Corsac fox photo taken by Bruce Coolen
Corsac foxes are the next species we'll talk about, since they are one of my very favorite species of fox. We don't currently care for any corsacs, but maybe one day. Corsac foxes are small foxes, usually a bit smaller than arctics even, and have smaller teeth and a wider skull than other fox species.
They are usually found in semi deserts or desert regions in Central Asia, Mongolia, and even Northeastern China. They call open grassy steppes and semideserts home, while avoiding dense vegetation and mountainous regions. Since they live primarily in an arid climate, Corsacs need little water to survive and get most of their fluids from their food. Their diet consists of mainly insects and small rodents, but may occasionally eat hares and pikas, and also scavenge for carrion. They are predominately carnivores, but will eat fruit and vegetation when other options are scarce.
Corsac foxes are nocturnal and nomadic hunters, sometimes forming packs unlike some foxes. They also don't typically have a territory that they'll defend, but have been known to migrate south in the winter months since they cannot hunt in deep snow.
Corsac foxes take shelter in burrows, and while they can dig their own dens, will often take over burrows of other animals such as ground squirrels or badgers. Their dens are rather shallow at around three feet deep, but will have several entrances and is usually shared between social packs.
Like the other two species we've talked about so far, Corsacs will form a monogamous bond during mating season and work together to raise their young. Unlike others, sometimes corsacs will share a den with other pregnant females.
Despite being decent climbers, corsac foxes are slow runners and easily caught by dogs and hunters, which are their biggest threats. Sadly they are heavily hunted for their fur, and in the late 19th century, up to 10,000 foxes were killed annually for their pelts.
The next Exotic Pet Wonderland resident that we will be talking about is the Gray fox. Gray foxes are a bit more unique than the foxes we've covered so far, as they aren't one of the 12 true foxes of the Vulpes Genus. Instead, they are in the Genus Urocyon, which they share with the Island fox. They are a small omnivorous fox and are widespread throughout North and Central America. Gray foxes used to be the most common fox found in the Eastern US, however, human advancement and deforestation have caused the red fox to become more common recently.
They are small foxes, weighing around 6-8lbs normally, but occasionally can reach up to 15lbs or larger. They are easily distinguished from reds due to their lack of black stockings and oval pupils.
Gray foxes are the only American canid who can climb trees, and that ability is only shared with the Asian Tanuki(raccoon dog) and the New Guinea Singing Dog. They can climb vertical, branchless tree trunks, and will often do so to escape predators, find food, or even live in them!
Gray foxes will normally live in hollow trees, tree trunks, or in appropriately sized dens underground, and have been seen in trees as high up as 30ft from the ground. Gray foxes are assumed monogamous, and their breeding season changes based on their geographical location.
They are omnivorous solitary hunters, eating mostly rabbits, voles, shrews, and birds, however, they do search out and eat more vegetation than red species foxes do.