The red fox is a small, reddish, dog-like mammal that lives in swamps, forests and farms throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Red foxes vary in color from bright red to rusty or reddish-brown with white underparts. They have black fur on their lower legs and feet and large ears that are black on the backs. Their muzzles are slim and sharply pointed. Their bushy red and black tail is usually tipped in white. Red foxes grow to about 25 inches in length and weigh 6 to 15 pounds.
The red fox is found in many areas, including swamps, forests and farms. It is mostly nocturnal but also active during dusk and dawn.
Found throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. These foxes stay within a home range of 3 to 30 miles, depending on the amount of food available.
The red fox hunts and forages for a variety of foods, including fruits, seeds, worms, insects, small mammals (such as voles, mice, rabbits and muskrats), and small marsh birds and their eggs. It is able to hear small mammals digging, chewing and rustling underground. Once a fox detects its prey, it rapidly digs into the soil to capture it. It will also stalk small mammals by standing very still, them leaping high and bring their forepaws down hard to pin the animal to the ground.
Young foxes are preyed upon by eagles, coyotes and other animals. Humans are the biggest predator of adult foxes, who are hunted for fur or killed because they are considered pests.
Foxes communicate with other foxes using many different types of vocalizations.
Breeding occurs between January and March. Most males have just one female partner, but some males breed with multiple females. After mating, the female makes a den. The male does not enter the den, but brings food for the female and their pups. Gestation lasts 51 to 53 days, after which the female gives birth to a litter of about 5 pups, which are born blind but open their eyes within two weeks. Young remain in the den for 4 to 5 weeks. The female nurses her pups for about two months. Young then get solid food from their parents and other members of their group. Sometimes the female will bring her pups live food to “play” with and eat so they can learn hunting skills. Young remain with their parents until autumn of the year they were born; sometimes females stay longer. Red foxes usually only live 3 years old in the wild.