- Who is she?
- Where is it common?
- What does she look like?
- What does she eat?
- How does she hunt?
- Ecology of the red fox
- Common fox. Description of subspecies
She is the smallest member of the popular Canine (or Canine) family. It is distributed almost all over the world. She, like her relatives - coyotes and jackals - was able to survive, despite the harsh onslaught of man. The people called her a cunning cheat. Who is she? Of course, the fox!
Who is she?
The common fox (or red fox) is a predatory mammal belonging to the Canine family. It is the most common and largest species of the fox genus. The size of these animals does not inspire much fear, since the size of a fox is usually about a small dog. Their body length ranges from 60 to 90 cm, and the length of the legendary tail does not exceed 60 cm. The red cheat weighs from 6 to 9 kg.
Where is it common?
Currently, the habitat of this red predator is extensive. The common fox is distributed throughout Europe and Asia, up to southern China, in southern Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Egypt) and in North America, up to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, this redheadthe beast was artificially acclimatized by man in Australia! Since then, these beasts have spread throughout almost the entire small continent. We will tell you more about the settling of certain areas by foxes when we talk about their ecology.
What does she look like?
The common fox, the description of which we will now give, is a rather elegant creature. Fox fur has always been famous for its beauty, silkiness and reddish-orange tint, playing in the sun. The fox's breast is white, and black "boots" are clearly visible at the ends of the paws. The muzzle, like all Canids, is elongated. The special charm of this creature is given by intelligent eyes, similar to those of a cat. Her legendary tail is fluffy and long. It visually enlarges the fox in size.
In general, the color and size of these predators are completely different, much depends on the habitat of the animal itself. For example, an ordinary fox living in the northern territories (the photo is given in the article) is larger than its counterparts, and its fur is lighter. In turn, closer to the south you can meet small foxes with tarnished fur. However, her most popular color is bright red, because they don't call her the red cheat for nothing!
What does she eat?
Mostly red foxes prefer open grassland areas where they can catch mice, voles, rabbits and even grasshoppers. Their main “menu” is small rodents from the Polevkov family. It is believed that the population of red foxes largely depends on their number in a particular area. This is especially important in winter: in cold weatheryears, these animals hunt exclusively for voles. The common fox regulates the number of mouse-like rodents.
Hares are of secondary importance in the food chain of foxes, but in some cases, cheaters purposefully trap rabbits and hares. During the so-called hare pestilence, foxes can become scavengers and eat their corpses. Birds play a smaller role in the diet of the red beast, but on occasion, she will not miss her chance! Foxes love to devastate bird eggs, steal domestic chickens, geese, etc.
By the way, these animals, although they belong to the order of carnivores, do not disdain plant foods. The common fox eats various berries (strawberries, blueberries, cherries), apples and grapes with pleasure. In times of famine, these animals eat oats, causing significant damage to crops.
How does she hunt?
The main hunting of the common fox is catching voles. This process even got its name - mouse. So she mouses the voles: smelling a rodent under the dense snow cover, the beast first begins to carefully listen to its squeaks, jumps and rustles, and then dives under the snow! Sometimes a fox can quickly and deftly scatter snow in different directions, trying to catch a vole. And she succeeds.
Usually red foxes live in pairs, in rare cases - in families. Their dwelling is nothing more than an ordinary hole. They can dig their own holes or occupy someone'sor available (for example, burrows of arctic foxes, badgers, marmots). You will not find fox dwellings anywhere: an individual site should not only provide its inhabitants with a normal amount of food, but also be located in a suitable place. These places most often become all kinds of hillsides or ravines.
Fox holes usually have several entrances leading through long tunnels to the most important chamber - the nesting place. Often these animals take a fancy to and, accordingly, equip natural shelters - crevices, hollows, caves. As a rule, these animals do not have permanent dwellings. They use only temporary shelters during the period of raising their offspring, and the rest of the time they live in open areas where there are a lot of mice. In the wild, these animals live only up to 7 years, but increasingly, their life expectancy does not exceed 3 years. It has been noted that in captivity they can easily live a quarter of a century.
Ecology of the red fox
As mentioned above, the ecology of this red beast is very extensive. The colors of the fox and its size are directly related to the habitat of the animal and certain factors that determine the existence of the fox in certain areas. The red-headed cheat inhabits all the landscape-geographical zones in the world with different densities: these are tundras, subarctic forests, steppes, deserts, and even mountain ranges in all climatic zones.
Whatever the area of settlement of the common fox, it still gives preference to open areasand areas with ravines, groves, hills and copses. This is explained by the fact that in winter the snow cover in such places is not too deep, but loose. This allows the foxes to easily do their usual thing - mouse. You already know what it is.
The common fox, as a rule, leads a sedentary lifestyle. In most regions of the globe, these animals are not characterized by any migration. Mostly inhabitants of mountains, tundras and deserts migrate. In this case, the young growth leaves the “parental home”, moving up to 30 km from it.
Common fox. Description of subspecies
This type of fox is rich in its various subspecies. In total, there are more than 40 of them. Scientists have calculated that with their variety of subspecies, these cheats are second only to the progenitor of domestic dogs - the wolf. From time immemorial, the fox has demonstrated an amazing ability to survive. Perhaps it is for this reason that the classification of the red fox is so rich. So, its most popular subspecies are recognized:
- European Forest;
- European steppe;
Like their wolves, red foxes are monogamous animals. They breedno more than once a year. At the same time, the breeding period and its effectiveness directly depend on the fatness of the animal and on external factors, such as weather conditions. It often happens that more than 50% of the female red fox cannot bring new offspring for years.
Zoologists note that the red fox is doing an excellent job with its parental responsibilities. For example, males not only actively raise their offspring, but also take care of females. Parent foxes diligently improve their burrows and, like primates, catch fleas on each other. If one of the parents dies, another individual of the corresponding sex takes its place.