Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Last updated: June 13, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

There are 12 different species in the world!





The fox is a scavenger carnivores animal, generally found in urban city areas in the Northern Hemisphere. As a nocturnal animal, foxes prefer going out at night to hunt for prey.

One Amazing Animal: 3 Fox Facts

  • Adapted for snow: Foxes live in environments where the animals they hunt have adapted for snow, so the fox has its own winter adaptations! For example, a fox can jump 3 feet into the air to catch a mouse at a snow depth of more than 3 feet, even if the mouse is moving! Foxes know how to determine a mouse’s speed and trajectory so they land on exactly the right spot of snow.
  • A long-distance animal: An Arctic fox fitted with a tracking device traveled 2,175 miles from Norway to Canada in just 76 days’ time!
  • A creative solution for rabies: Rabies caused by red foxes was causing a huge problem in Europe into the 60s. How did scientists solve this problem? Well, they got animals to vaccinate themselves. Scientists air-dropped vaccinated chicken heads for wild foxes to eat and helped eliminate the scourge of rabies!

From Animal to Vulpes: The Classification of the Fox

Foxes belong to the kingdom Animalia (Animals!) and are mammals. As part of the family Canidae they’re closely related to wolves, racoons, and domesticated dogs!

The genus Vulpes contains 12 different species of fox. The most widespread is the red fox, which has the scientific name Vulpes Vulpes and is found across most of the Northern Hemisphere.

Fox Appearance and Lifespan

Wild foxes tend live for around 6-7 years, but some foxes have been known to be older than 13 in captivity. The wild fox hunts for the mouse and other small mammals and birds, but foxes appear to enjoy all species of insect.

A fox is generally smaller than other members of the dog family like wolves, jackals and domestic dogs. Foxes can be a pest in the cities as foxes are often seen tearing into rubbish.

Fox Species

There are around 12 different species of fox found around the world, which include the following:

  • Arctic FoxArctic foxes are found in the Arctic tundra of the Northern Hemisphere. Also known as the polar fox, snow fox, or white fox, this species has adapted to life in colder climates. Their multi-layered coats, furry foot pads, and seasonal camouflage have aided them in surviving in some of the coldest habitats on the planet.
  • Fennec FoxFennec foxes are native to the Sahara Desert, Sinai Peninsula, and the Arabian Desert and have large ears which help dissipate heat from their bodies. The smallest of the fox species, these animals are social creatures that dig burrows in the sand for habitation and protection and live in groups of up to ten individuals.
  • Pale Fox – Pale foxes live in the Sahel region of Africa and have sandy-colored coats that help them blend in with their desert-like habitats. While not much is known about this species, their population size is estimated to be large and relatively stable.
  • Blanford’s Fox – The Blanford’s fox was named after English naturalist William Blanford, who first described them in 1877. Also known as the Afghan fox, royal fox, and dog fox, these animals live in parts of Central Asia and the Middle East in mountains, steppes, and arid plains regions.
  • Cape Fox – Cape foxes are a small species of fox that inhabit Southern Africa. Mostly solitary creatures, these foxes are nocturnal and omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, birds, insects, and fruit.
  • Corsac Fox – The corsac fox lives in deserts and steppes in Central Asia and can go long periods of time without food or water as an adaptation to their environments. These foxes are slow runners and are easily caught by poachers who hunt them for their pelts.
  • Tibetan Sand Fox – Tibetan sand foxes are only found in in the vicinity of the Tibetan and the Ladakh Plateau in semi-arid and arid grasslands up to elevations of 17,000 feet. This species is diurnal, preying on pikas, rodents, marmots, hares, and lizards.
  • Swift Fox – Swift foxes inhabit the western grasslands of North America and feed on both plants and animals. The species was all but extinguished in Canada in the 1930s, but the reintroduction program in the 1980s established successful populations through the 1990s. Swift foxes are now classified as a species of Least Concern.
  • Kit Fox – Kit fox populations range from central Mexico to the southwestern United States. Determined to be the smallest species of fox in North America, kit foxes prefer arid regions and have large ears which help dissipate heat.
  • Ruppell’s Fox – Named after the German naturalist Eduard Ruppell, these foxes can be found in the Middle East, southwestern Asia, and Northern Africa. Their preferred habitats are sandy or rocky deserts, scrublands, or steppes.
  • Bengal Fox – Also known as the Indian fox, Bengal foxes are only found on the Indian subcontinent. These foxes can thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions but prefer grasslands and semi-arid thorn or scrub forests.
  • Red Fox – The red fox is the largest species of fox and inhabits a wide variety of regions in the Northern Hemisphere. While mostly red, these foxes can vary in coloration from reddish brown to platinum.

Fox Conservation Status

Foxes in Europe have been the victims of fox hunting, an extremely controversial sport that involves humans on horses hunting out the fox, lead by a pack of hound dogs which would find the fox by following the scent of the fox. Fox hunting in this manner is now illegal, although it is still allowed if the sport only contains humans on horseback, without the use of their clever but somewhat vicious dogs.

The fox is also found in the more rural areas of the Northern hemisphere, although fox numbers in the countryside are outnumbered by fox numbers in cities as due to the foxes scavenging nature, food is more readily available in the urban streets.

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Fox Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Vulpes
Scientific Name
Vulpes vulpes

Fox Conservation Status


Fox Facts

Main Prey
Rabbits, Birds, Lizards
Distinctive Feature
Pointed ears and long bushy tail
Habitat
Woodland areas and urban parks
Predators
Human, Bears, Eagles
Diet
Carnivore
Average Litter Size
5
Lifestyle
  • Solitary
Favorite Food
Rabbit
Type
Mammal
Slogan
There are 12 different species in the world!

Fox Physical Characteristics

Colour
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Black
  • Tan
Skin Type
Fur
Top Speed
29 mph
Lifespan
3 - 11 years
Weight
5kg - 11kg (11lbs - 24lbs)
Length
40cm - 83cm (16in - 33in)

Fox Images

Click through all of our Fox images in the gallery.

View all of the Fox images!

Fox FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Foxes herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Foxes are Carnivores, meaning they eat other animals.

What Kingdom do Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Foxes have?

Foxes are covered in Fur.

What genus do Foxes belong to?

Foxes belong to the genus Vulpini.

In what type of habitat do Foxes live?

Foxes live in woodland areas and urban parks.

What is the main prey for Foxes?

Foxes prey on rabbits, birds, and lizards.

What are some predators of Foxes?

Predators of Foxes include humans, bears, and eagles.

What are some distinguishing features of Foxes?

Foxes have pointed ears and long bushy tails.

How many babies do Foxes have?

The average number of babies a Fox has is 5.

What is an interesting fact about Foxes?

There are 12 different species of Fox in the world!

What is the scientific name for the Fox?

The scientific name for the Fox is Vulpes vulpes.

What is the lifespan of a Fox?

Foxes can live for 3 to 11 years.

How fast is a Fox?

A Fox can travel at speeds of up to 29 miles per hour.

Sources
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  7. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals

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