Appearance

Red foxes are the smallest wild canids in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, although they are the largest of the true foxes. Their fur isn’t always red; there are different color morphs including black, silver, and brown. They are recognizable by their black “stockings” on all four legs.

Red foxes use urine to mark their territories, and they have anal glands that let them produce a musky spray that smells similar to a skunk.

Red Foxes in this ecosystem

Red foxes are found throughout most of the United States, Europe, and Asia. There are 45 recognized subspecies.

The red foxes in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem are a subspecies known as the Rocky Mountain fox (Vulpes vulpes macroura).

DIET

Red foxes are omnivores. In this ecosystem, they eat mostly rodents, birds, lizards, amphibians, fruits, and grasses. They generally hunt alone before sunrise and in the late evenings, but groups can sometimes be seen in areas with a lot of prey.

When hunting small rodents, they listen carefully to pinpoint their prey’s location under grass or snow, and then leap high in the air, coming down with their front feet on the rodent. They can jump as far as 15 feet when hunting.

At the Sanctuary, our fox gets a variety of meats along with dry kibble for extra nutrition.

BEHAVIOR & Lifespan

Red foxes have a wide variety of vocalizations, and complex body language used to communicate with each other. They are most active at dusk & dawn, and live an average of 4-6 years.

Red foxes are quite athletic. They can leap a 6-foot fence, and are often seen on top of rocks and stumps to get a better view of their surroundings.

Our Red Fox

Taxonomy

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Carnivora
FAMILY: Canidae
GENUS: Vulpes
SPECIES: vulpes

conservation status

IUCN Status LC.png

Least Concern

MOST ACTIVE

Active Time Crepuscular.png

Crepuscular

SOUNDS

  REX  was taken in by a private individual when he was just a small kit in 2009. Because he imprinted on humans when he was little, he cannot be released into the wild.

REX was taken in by a private individual when he was just a small kit in 2009. Because he imprinted on humans when he was little, he cannot be released into the wild.

 

Fox-Related Episodes of our Podcast