Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Foxes

There are two types of foxes that inhabit West Virginia: red foxes andgray foxes. They are swift, agile, and cunning. Red foxes and gray foxes belong to the family carnivores, the same family as the wolves and dogs.

Foxes have extremely sharp senses. They can hear mice move 150 feet away. They are good runners and can swim when necessary.

The red fox measures between 22 and 25 inches in length with a tail that measures 14-16 inches. The gray fox measures between 21 and 29 inches with a tail extending 11to 16 inches. Both red foxes and gray foxes weigh between 7 and 13 pounds. Gray foxes can climb trees. They are the only species to climb.

The fox diet includes: fruits, grasses, mice, rats, opossums, rabbits, woodchucks, domestic cats, insects, porcupines, chickens, squirrels, and birds.

Male foxes are known as dog foxes and females are known as vixens. In late winter, foxes begin barking at night. This makes their presence noted by members of the opposite sex. Breeding usually occurs in February. Young foxes are born aftera 51 day gestation period for red foxes and a 63 day for gray foxes. Fox babies weigh approximately 8 ounces at birth. Litters range in size from 4 to 10.

Baby foxes open their eyes in 8-10 days. The female nurses the pups for about 1 month.

Red foxes seldom stay in holes or dens during the winter. Gray foxes hole up for 3 to 9 days at a time during the winter.

Foxes are affected by many parasites including worms, ticks, fleas, and flukes. Reds and grays are equally capable of contracting rabies.

Red foxes and gray foxes prefer different habitats. Red foxes prefer sparsely settled rolling farm areas with wooded tracts. Gray foxes prefer more mountainous terrains.