Friday, January 25, 2013

Fox Facts

Photo by Joel Sartore for National Geographic

Here are some facts about the fox who comes here at night to eat in our pasture. 

She is a red fox vixen, a girl... and appears to be pregnant. 

According to National Geographic: 

Red foxes are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as their home habitat. Foxes will eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms. If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically dine on garbage and pet food.
Like a cat's, the fox's thick tail aids its balance, but it has other uses as well. A fox uses its tail (or "brush") as a warm cover in cold weather and as a signal flag to communicate with other foxes.

In winter, foxes meet to mate. The vixen (female) typically gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. At birth, red foxes are actually brown or gray. A new red coat usually grows in by the end of the first month, but some red foxes are golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. Both parents care for their young through the summer before they are able to strike out on their own in the fall.
Red foxes are hunted for sport, though not extensively, and are sometimes killed as destructive pests or frequent carriers of rabies.

Only once have we seen two foxes together on camera here, and just the one night.  The vixen does not come every night. 

Foxes are fairly prevalent in this part of Leavenworth County, and several times while driving I have seen them going across a field.  To see one in broad daylight, however, is an indication that there is distress... either the animal is sick or something has disturbed it mightily. 

I have a friend whose daughter wrote about the red foxes that lived in their back yard one spring.  There were nine kits, and they all lived but one.  I'll let Kate tell you: 

This was Kate's first published piece.  She is also celebrating her birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Kate! 

Here are some pictures of  "our" vixen as she comes to eat at night. 

and this: 

She is really a beauty. 

I'm linking this to Farm Photo Friday at Farmchick's Kitchen. 


  1. That fox is beautiful...I bet your chickens don't think so!
    stella rose

  2. They are such beautiful creatures! I wonder if she'll bring her pups up to feed after they're born? I enjoyed reading this, Mary Ann.

  3. Interesting facts and great pics.

    M :)

    PS: I left you an e-mail.

  4. It really will be interesting to see if she brings her babies along with her...I would love to see pictures of that! They really are pretty...if only they didn't dig such damaging holes in the fields!

  5. Mary Ann,

    She is beautiful! We have a red fox that Justin has seen very early in the AM, just off our driveway.

  6. Back when I had horse, I could often ride within 50 feet of a den, with the pups playing at the entrance. About that distance, they would usually dive underground. Often, though, it was because momma yipped at them from some unseen vantage point. I enjoyed watching them.

  7. You do have a beautiful visitor. We had several in our neighborhood. I once came upon a mother and her 2 kits playing.

  8. She is beautiful, your vixen. I'm glad she's not after your chickens anyway. The nightlife around your place is never boring.

  9. Foxes are beautiful. Thanks for this informative post.

  10. Neat info and "your" vixen is a beauty!

  11. I'm sure she's needing the extra food since shes pregnant.


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