small to medium-sized omnivorous mammal belonging to the family Canidae
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A fox is a small mammalian carnivore. They hunt and eat live prey, mostly rabbits and rodents (squirrels and mice). They may also eat grasshoppers, birds' eggs, and even fruit and berries. Sometimes they eat carrion.[1] Foxes are the smallest members of the dog family Canidae.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Scientific classification
Blanford's Fox (Vulpes cana) photographed in southern Israel. It is a small fox with a long, bushy tail. The tail is a counterbalance when running or climbing. This fox occurs in the mountainous parts of the Negev and Judean Deserts, on rocky slopes. They feed mostly on beetles, grasshoppers, ants and termites.

Twelve species belong to the Vulpes genus of monophyletic "true foxes". There are about another 25 living or extinct species which are sometimes called foxes.

The fox has pointed ears, narrow snout, and a bushy tail.

Foxes are swift and agile runners which live in family groups. A female fox is called a vixen, and a male is called a dog. Foxes' tails are multi-purpose organs. Their bushy tail helps them keep warm while they are sleeping in cold weather.[2] It is also part of the animal's food store for wintertime.[3] Foxes' plump, bushy tail is easily seen, and is used for sending signals to its family members.[4] The tail is also used for balance while running.[4]

Foxes are found on all continents (except Antarctica), mostly living in forest, shrubland, and desert regions. They were not native to Australia, but were introduced in some way. The most common fox species is the red fox. Red foxes have reddish-brown fur, and the tail tip is white. In the United Kingdom, it was a common sport for people to hunt foxes with horses and dogs. This is now banned.

"Most agricultural damage is caused by rabbits, and this can be considerable. Yet in lowland areas, rabbits comprise 45 to 70 per cent of the diet of foxes... One study estimated that, over its lifetime, each fox was worth between £150 and £900 in increased revenue to farmers... A strong argument against killing foxes".[5]

True foxes


The informal term 'true fox' refers to members of the Vulpes genus.

There are 12 species of Vulpus. They are:

A red fox in Sussex, England

The arctic fox is included in this genus as Vulpes lagopus. There is genetic evidence that shows it is probably a true fox.[6][7]

Some species of true fox are extinct. Fossils have been found of:


  1. These exceptions do not really make foxes omnivores, better to say they are not entirely carnivores.
  2. Howard J. Bennett (14 October 2012). "Ever wonder why animals have tails?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. NOAA report
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Red Fox Vulpes vulpes". National Geographic. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  5. BBC Wildlife
  6. Wozencraft W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. In Wilson D.E. & Reeder D.M. Mammal Species of the World 3rd ed, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 532-628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  7. "Building large trees by combining phylogenetic information: a complete phylogeny of the extant Carnivora (Mammalia)". Biol. Rev. 74 (2): 143–175. 1999. doi:10.1017/s0006323199005307. PMID 10396181. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)