Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Species Information

Meet these not so red foxes,  Raina and Stan! These cunning caines are very playful, chasing each other around or hiding behind the keepers’ backs! These wonderful additions to the park are extra active towards the end of the day!

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The red fox is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe and Asia, plus parts of North Africa.

Our two red foxes, Daxx and Rene, are not in fact ‘red’ foxes, but are silver and platinum foxes, respectively. Their heightened senses of sight, smell, and especially hearing makes foxes excellent predators. A recent study actually found that foxes have the best maximal absolute hearing sensitivity of any mammal, being able to hear a mouse squeak from 100ft away!

Foxes are omnivores who hunt mainly small birds and mammals such as voles, mice, and rabbits. The opportunistic feeders will also feed on carrion, fish, berries, grains, invertebrates, and go through humans rubbish in urban areas!

About 3 years in the wild and 10 – 12 years in human care.

Scent is an important social behaviour in red foxes, using to communicate and assert territory and dominance. They are fast runners with lots of stamina, and are active mostly at night. When food is plentiful, these clever mammals will stash food and hide food to eat at a time when food is less easy to come by, they even mark this food as their own by urinating on it.

Red foxes mate annually, at the beginning of the year. Foxes will greet each other with loud screaming sounds before a pair travel and hunt with each other for about three weeks before eventual copulation. After a gestation of about 52 days, up to 14 pups, but usually 3 – 6 pups are born. This litter size largely depends on the availability and abundance of food. The male remains with the female throughout the rearing of the cubs, providing her and the pups with food and protection of the vulnerable den.

Least Concern. However, foxes are sometimes unethically hunted for sport, persecuted illegally, and poisoned.

Foxes not only have whiskers on their faces, but also on their legs! This helps them to navigate and find their way around.