Red Fox FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

How much does a male red fox weigh?


Anything up to 8 kg average weight in pounds would be roughly 14 - 16 lbs. A Vixen weighs approximatel 5kg and a Dog Fox about 6 - 7kg




What is the fox doing when it yells out in the night like a crying child


What is the fox doing when it yells out in the night like a child crying for help. One of two things, it could be the vixen calling to her mate or it could be the cubs fighting for their share of the food. Whilst either sounds like they are killing each other no harm befalls them usually. Calls can also be made defending a territory




What does NFWS Stand For


NFWS Stands for the National Fox Welfare Society




Do Foxes make good pets?


Every year we get a dozen or so foxes that have been brought up in a house environment. People take a cub on thinking how sweet. The cub will usually take to being handled quite well. However once the fox get to the age of about 14-16 weeks it goes through a stage called neophobia. Young children go through the same stage, trusting everyone up until a certain age then suddenly bursting into tears if they are handed to a stranger. A fox cub on seeing a person who is not an immediate member of the family will dart for cover and panic. At 14 - 16 weeks the foxy smell will be on everything that doesn't move, and on some things that do! Foxes being territorial animals will mark their territory frequently i.e. the house and contents and will usually leave their dropping near to the door. Since their liking for chewing leather plastic, wire etc they actually become a health hazard in the house in so much as they will chew through electric cables without thinking twice. Nice stories of foxes having being brought up in a house and then escaping to live a happy life are often heard, but in reality the fox escaping will usually prove to be a death sentence, as the fox will not only be in another fox families territory but it also will not know where to get a regular supply of food from. Invariably Basil the fox will usually be introduced to Bruno the dog and they may get on fine, but if the fox escapes suddenly enemy number two to a fox is viewed as a friend rather than foe! Unlike a domestic dog do something to a fox that it doesn't like and it's way of saying no is to bite the nearest piece of exposed flesh, starts getting serious when one imagines that children may also be sharing the foxes territory. This is when we usually get called to take on Basil! The householders usually say we have now decided he belongs in the wild. Problem number one for us is in attempting to integrate the house fox with a litter of cubs of the same age. Most fox cubs denied contact with their own species will be afraid and will hide away or try to get away. This causes the other three or four cubs to investigate the unusual behaviour exhibited and the problem then escalates until the cub is completely paranoid. Problem two is in attempting to get a fox to be afraid of dogs, no easy task! Problem three raises its head when a cub will never accept other cubs. Also a problem if the fox escapes. The main problem here is that you have a fox cub that has bonded with one family, and one family only i.e. the householders who dumped him on us. So the cub will not only be afraid of other cubs but will also be afraid of any person it does not know. A cub that can not be rehabilitated or will not accept life in captivity will have to be euthanased.




We live on a few acres adjacent to town. We are absolutely delighted that our back yard brush pile has become the home for a vixen and three kits. We are interested in knowing more about foxes, as a result. We are curious how long they will stay with us as a group.


Usually the cubs will abandon their earth in June and start living above ground and whilst they will still play together, they will start to roam alone or at the very least in pairs.




What is the average litter size for foxes


Average litter size is usually between 4 - 5 fox cubs




At what age do cubs start to turn red


Approximately 4 - 5 weeks the red colour of the fox will start to show through.




Are the foxes with the white tips to their tail male foxes?


No, either sex can have the white tip to the tail, some can have black tips and others no black or white.




We have recently had the joy of seeing foxes in our back garden, but to our horror a few nights ago we had our family tortoise dug up! I wondered if any body else has had similar problems, or if you can offer a solution to our problem as the tortoise hibernates outside in shallow soil, and doesn't hibernate inside.


I can explain as to why they would do this, but to offer a solution may be more difficult. Foxes when they come across an abundance of food, rather than waste it, will bury it. This is usually called a cache. Opportunistic foxes may spend their nights raiding their families caches. A fox coming across a tortoise underground may see this as a cached supply of food and dig it up.




Are red foxes endangered


The answer is simply no they are not. Our work is carried out to help the fox population remain healthy. It must also be said that many people only start to care when an animal is endangered i.e. the Tiger. If more people had the interests of the tigers to heart prior to them becoming endangered, it just may not have been allowed to happen. We see our role as being the advocates for the foxes




Do foxes kill cats?


Foxes will scavenge dead cats off the road and anyone seeing this assumes the fox has killed the cat. I have seen on many occasions a fox carrying a marrow bone, never do I jump to the conclusion that the fox has killed the cow! Peak calls regarding foxes and cats come in during the mating times, because of the blood chilling scream of the vixen calling her mate. We then get another load of calls when foxes are observed chasing cats in March/April. This is usually the dog fox or vixen chasing away a cat from the earth, as cats given the chance will play with and kill fox cubs. Finally we get another load of calls stating the foxes are hunting in packs after cats. This is usually in July when cubs, although nearly the size of adults will still be in the family group and if a cat is observed by one of them they will go over for a closer look, usually once the cat has scratched them on the nose that's enough to satisfy their curiosity. In this case curiosity certainly didn't kill the cat.




I have heard that foxes may kill all the chickens in a yard, yet only eat a few. Is this true? Also, why does this happen (fox behaviour question, I guess)? I was under the impression that animals kill (mainly) for necessity. I would appreciate any information you could give me. Thank you


When one talks about foxes the fox and chicken scenario always springs up, usually in defence of fox hunting! Imagine for a moment the fox in a field, around the corner are twelve birds eating seeds. The fox creeps up on the birds and pounces, and is lucky to catch one, eleven however fly away. The only time this falls down is if the birds can not get away i.e. a chicken coop. The first question to ask if anyone brings up the fox and chicken scenario is how do you know it was a fox. The answer is usually because they've seen the fox return. If the fox had killed the chickens it didn't take for pleasure then why is the fox coming back. The answer is simple a successful predator will kill more than it needs when the opportunity arises so it can store them for a day when food may be short i.e. they cache them. This is why the fox will come back to the coop, its to take the dead birds away and bury them. Many predators surplus kill or have at least surplus to their immediate requirements. The domestic cat will however much you have just fed it, still go out and kill birds, mice etc. A domestic dog when its eaten all it can will often be seen trying to bury its food either under the carpet or a bone may be buried in the garden. Its quite remarkable really when one considers that a Lion, considered by most, to be the king of the jungle, will often kill more than it can eat at one sitting yet no one questions why one lion will kill a zebra when a gazelle would have been more than sufficient. It amazes me how with today's technical advances that we can speak via the computer, we can have board meeting without anyone leaving their house, we
send rockets to planets millions of miles away, yet people still fail to be able to protect their chickens from a twelve pound fox. If we can keep foxes in our care when we are treating them, surely people with chickens can keep them out? Whilst foxes are intelligent animals never have I observed one carrying keys. In short if they can not get in they can not kill any chickens. Lastly, how many people go to a supermarket and shop for just one days dinner and how many people just go shopping when they are hungry?




I have a Foxes living under my barn and I have several pets. I would like to trap it and then relocate it. What should I put in the trap to catch it. Thank


Sorry we don't give advice on how to catch foxes to relocate them. Thankfully in the UK relocation is illegal. The simple answer would be to ensure your pets are fully protected. If the fox is a vixen and you remove her then the cubs that are no doubt also under your shed will die. Relocation doesn't work for many reasons.




Please could you tell me when fox cubs are born, I believe it’s in January—February but I am not sure.


The peak mating season is usually in January and cubs are born in March. If the fox’s earth is in your garden you will usually be lucky enough to see the fox cubs moving around mid April.





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