10 Fascinating Facts About Foxes (With Photos)
A new three-part TV programme described by Channel 4’s Sara Ramsden as “everything you ever wanted to know about foxes but were afraid to ask” begins Monday, 30 April 2012. But before you watch Foxes Live: Wild in the City, check out these 10 interesting facts (complete with cute photos) about foxes, wonderful creatures who deserve more respect:
- Foxes are members of the dog family. A female fox is called a “vixen”, a male fox is called a “dog fox” or a “tod” and baby foxes are called “pups”, “kits” or “cubs”. A group of foxes is called a “skulk” or a “leash”.
- Foxes are the only type of dog capable of retracting their claws like cats do. Foxes also have vertical pupils that look more like those of cats than the rounded pupils that other dogs have.
- There are many different types of foxes, and they are the most widespread species of wild dog in the world. Foxes live just about everywhere – in the countryside, cities, forests, mountains and grasslands. Arctic foxes live in cold climates far north, and fennec foxes live in the North African desert.
- When fox pups are born, they are unable to see, hear or walk, and their mother must take good care of them. When the pups are young, their father hunts and brings food back for the family.
- Sadly, some cruel people continue to hunt foxes and ridiculously call it a “sport”. In 2004, a law was enacted in England and Wales to ban hunting foxes with dogs, an activity in which hunters would ride on horses following a number of dogs who would pursue the exhausted fox before ripping the animal apart. However, hunters can still hunt and kill foxes by other means. Fox hunting with dogs is still legal in many other places, such as Ireland, North America and Australia.
- Foxes eat just about anything, including berries, worms, spiders and small animals such as mice and birds. If they live in the city, they eat rubbish that people leave out. If they have extra food, they hide it in a small hole and eat it later when they are hungry.
- Foxes have beautiful fur, and as a result, the heartless fur industry both breeds captive foxes and traps foxes in the wild. Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals living in captivity on fur factory farms. At these farms, animals are kept in small cages and are unable to take more than a few steps back and forth. Because fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods such as anal electrocution that keep the fur intact but result in extreme suffering for the animals.
- Grey foxes who live in North America are the only type of dogs who can climb trees!
- A fox’s home is called a “den”. It can be a hole in the ground or elsewhere, such as under a garden shed. Hunters often try to scare foxes out of their dens by sending in dogs so that the hunter can then shoot the foxes. Sometimes the foxes remain in the den and are injured or killed by the dogs.
- Foxes show great caring, adaptability and intelligence when raising their young. The Daily Mail reported in May 2009 that a baby fox cub was caught in a snare for two weeks before being rescued by the RSPCA. He was unable to escape and was badly injured. He survived only because his mother brought him food while he was trapped.
You can help foxes! Take action to protect these beautiful animals in the following ways:
- Pledge never to wear the skin of a fox or any other animal.
- Learn more about how foxes and minks are treated on fur farms.
- Speak out against the fur trade, which massacres millions of foxes every year.
- Learn about other wild animals who live in Britain such as badgers and hedgehogs.