Foxes are slightly smaller than a medium-size domestic dog, with a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail.
What is a fox?
Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox with about 47 recognized subspecies. The global distribution of foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially in the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.
Several fox species are endangered in their native environments. Pressures placed on foxes include habitat loss and being hunted for pelts, other trade, or control. Due in part to their opportunistic hunting style and industriousness, foxes are commonly resented as nuisance animals. On the other hand, foxes, while often considered pests themselves, have been successfully employed to control pests on fruit farms while leaving the fruit intact.
Fox species differ in fur color, length, and density. Coat colors range from pearly white to black and white to black flecked with white or grey on the underside. Fennec foxes (and other species of fox adapted to life in the desert), for example, have large ears and short fur to aid in keeping the body cool. Arctic foxes, on the other hand, have tiny ears and short limbs as well as thick, insulating fur, which aid in keeping the body warm. Red foxes, by contrast, have a typical auburn pelt, the tail normally ending with white marking. A fox’s coat color and texture may vary due to the change in seasons; fox pelts are richer and denser in the colder months and lighter in the warmer months. To get rid of the dense winter coat, foxes moult once a year around April; the process begins from the feet, up the legs, and then along the back. Coat color may also change as the individual ages.
Relationships with human
Foxes are often considered pests or nuisance creatures for their opportunistic attacks on poultry and other small livestock. Fox attacks on humans are not common. Many foxes adapt well to human environments, with several species classified as “resident urban carnivores” for their ability to sustain populations entirely within urban boundaries. Foxes in urban areas can live longer and can have smaller litter sizes than foxes in non-urban areas.
Fox hunting originated in the United Kingdom in the 16th century. Hunting with dogs is now banned in the United Kingdom, though hunting without dogs is still permitted. Red foxes were introduced into Australia in the early 19th century for sport, and have since become widespread through much of the country. They’ve caused population decline among many native species and prey on livestock, especially new lambs. Fox hunting is practiced as recreation in several other countries including Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Russia and the United States.
Image: Photo by Ray Hennessy
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Fox.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Jul. 2017. Web. 14 Aug. 2017.