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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2019


Red Fox

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Family : Canidae
Species : Vulpes vulpes

Head-body length : up to 70 cm
Tail length : up to 45 cm
Weight : up to 5.5 kg

The Red Fox Vulpes vulpes is indisputably the most widespread of all carnivores, and the most adaptable species of wild dog. It occurs in a huge range of habitats in much of the northern hemisphere, doing particularly well in areas where there is a mosaic of different habitats, including areas of farmland.

Its range extends from North America across Europe and into Asia, including northern parts of Southeast Asia. Nearly 50 subspecies are formally recognised.

The species has a slender, lean body, a pointed snout and erect, pointed ears. The long, bushy tail hangs downward when the animal is at rest but is held near horizontal when in full flight.

Typical fur colouration comprises orange-brown upperparts and somewhat paler underparts. In most subspecies the anterior part of the snout is white, and the neck and upper chest grizzled white. In some regions a minority of foxes are silvery in colour.

The species has a deserved reputation for keen eyesight, sharp hearing and great intelligence. It is agile in its movements with a lively gait, and is reckoned to be a good swimmer. They are mainly nocturnal but are sometimes active well before dusk.

Their dens are dug in loose, sandy soils where a pair of foxes may raise an average of 4 to 6 cubs.

Prey items include rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits, reptiles and small birds. Fresh carrion may also be consumed.

In Southeast Asia the Red Fox (subspecies V. v. hoole or 'South China Red Fox') occurs in parts of northern Vietnam.

Fig 1 : Red Fox on the hunt for prey, pausing briefly to survey its territory. This is the European subspecies V. v. crucigera.

Fig 2 : Hunting posture, with ears alert and eyes fixed to the ground in search of rodents or small birds.

Fig 3 : A distant sound attracts the attention of this sharp-eared fox.

Fig 4 : Example from the Ulley Valley (west of Leh) in Ladakh, India, high in the Himalaya mountains: this is the 'Hill Fox', V. v. montana, whose range extend eastwards, possibly to the borders of northern Myanmar. Photo thanks to Alan Morrison.

References : M5



Fig 4
ゥ  Alan Morrison