The UK Red Fox vulpes vulpes is a creature of wonder, often depicted as cunning, mischievous killers – but equally adored and admired. This admiration is reinforced by the fact that 84% of the British public are against a return to fox hunting.
Furthermore, a recent study by the Mammal Society concluded that the fox is one of Britain’s most popular mammals!
Check out a few frequently asked questions (and common misconceptions) along with a few fun facts about the Fox:
Do Foxes Kill For Pleasure?
Foxes are often portrayed cunning and sly creatures, but the truth is they are just extremely resourceful, they often find ways to kill protected livestock, find food and protect their young despite the circumstances they are faced with. However, foxes do not kill for pleasure, but they will often kill in excess of what they need in order to store the food for the coming months which is where the presumption comes from.
For example, if a fox breaks into a chicken coop, it is likely it will kill all the chickens, take as much as it can and cache it, then come back for the rest if it is able to do so. This can be perceived as killing for fun, but in reality it is just the fox’s survival instincts kicking in.
What Is A Group Of Foxes Called?
A group of foxes is called a ‘skulk’ or a ‘leash’. A female fox is called a vixen, a male fox is often referred to as a tod and newborn foxes are called kits or cubs.
Are Foxes Vermin?
The Master of Foxhounds Association and Foundation claim they are, stating that:
“because there is no rabies in the British Isles, populations of fox are extremely high and fox are considered vermin”.
However, – they are not, and never have been categorised as vermin by the DEFRA (Department For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
What Do Foxes Eat?
Foxes eat just about anything, including bugs, berries, mice, rabbits and other animals. In urban areas, they will often eat out of people’s bins, or eat food that has been left out for themselves and badgers.
Urban foxes can become accustomed to humans in urban areas and become comfortable with them. But you must remember that foxes are wild animals – so you should not try to pet them.
What’s The Average Lifespan Of A Red Fox?
Foxes do not have long lifespans, they tend to live on average 12 – 18 months in urban areas, and rarely past 3 – 4 years in rural areas; some may make it closer to 10 years of age. In captivity, foxes have been known to live up to 14 years.
What’s The Biggest Killer Of Foxes In The UK?
Traffic is the single biggest killer of foxes in the UK, whilst it is near impossible to give an accurate figure on how many estimates sit at 100,000.
Can Foxes Mate With Domestic Dogs?
Not to produce offspring, if a fox or dog is in heat, they may try to mate with the other party if kept in captivity together but it is unlikely this ever happens in the wild.
Do UK Foxes Have Any Natural Predators?
In the past, UK foxes would have occasionally been killed by wolves before they were eradicated. These kills were as a result of chance meetings and thus were rare – there’s no data to suggest wolf kills had a notable impact on fox numbers as hunt lobbies often claim.
Fast forward 250 years and the fox has few natural predators: badgers, golden eagles & eagle owls used to exploit the law and the biggest threat to the fox, humans.
Help Protect UK Foxes From Illegal Hunting
There are plenty of pages on Facebook and Twitter you can get involved with to report the illegal hunting of foxes in your area and show your support for the hunting ban. Writing to your local MP is also a sensible thing to do if you do feel illegal hunting is taking place in your area, or you want to find out their views on the matter.
Alternatively, joining your local hunt saboteurs group is one of the best ways to become a part of something preventing illegal hunts in your local area and getting involved in animal welfare.