Q:

What is the life cycle of the red fox?

A:

Quick Answer

Red foxes mature sexually and produce a litter at about 1 year of age. Pups are blind and helpless at birth and remain with parents for roughly half a year. Red foxes typically pair monogamously.

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Full Answer

Red foxes produce a single litter each year, typically in the spring. The vixen enters oestrus for 3 weeks, and she and the male mate several times during that period. Kits are usually born 49 to 58 days later. While litters of 13 kits are possible, most litters have roughly four to six offspring.

Kits are deaf and blind and lack teeth at birth, and they weigh less than 1/4 pound. Their eyes and ears begin to function at about 2 weeks of age. Red fox kits nurse for 3 to 4 weeks before the mother begins weaning them to solid food, although a vixen lactates for 6 weeks. By 6 to 7 months of age, fox kits reach adult size, and some vixens are reproductively mature at 9 months.

Most red foxes form monogamous pairs, and both males and females take part in caring for offspring. Help from the father is essential for the first several weeks as the mother remains with the kits to provide warmth. DNA analysis from some fox populations shows some amount of polygamy and incest.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the differences between a coyote and a fox?

    A:

    Coyotes are much larger than foxes, as they reach nearly 47 pounds in weight, while red foxes only reach about 31 pounds. Additionally, coyotes have head and body lengths that approach 40 inches, while red foxes rarely exceed 36 inches in head and body length. Coyotes are colored in combinations of brown, straw, gray, white and black, while red foxes are mostly red with red and white accents.

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  • Q:

    What is the name for a baby fox?

    A:

    Baby foxes are called kits. They are born in underground dens during the spring in litters of four to six kits. At birth, each is approximately the size of an American dollar bill and completely helpless.

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  • Q:

    What is the red fox's scientific name?

    A:

    Red foxes have the taxonomic name Vulpes vulpes based on their genus and species, respectively. The red fox is one of 34 species in the Canidae family, which includes wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals.

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  • Q:

    What does a red fox eat?

    A:

    Red foxes, which are omnivores, eat a wide variety of animal life but prefer small rodents such as mice, voles, hamsters, gerbils, gophers and woodchucks. They also hunt and eat opossums, raccoons, rabbits, birds, reptiles and insects. When meat is scarce, they supplement their diet with plant matter such as berries, fruit, grass and tubers. Around human habitations, they also feed on pet food and garbage.

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