All About Foxes
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You have probably noticed that we like foxes; and what would a FoxWeb be without a page about foxes?! Here you can learn a little about one of our favorite animals, with a section full of Frequently Asked Questions further on.

But first, the general overview:

All About Foxes! (...more or less)

Red Fox Taxonomy The fox is a canid (family Canidae), distantly akin to coyotes, jackals, and wolves; but they are a distinct and separate animal, having formed their own genetic group 11-12 million years ago. They belong to the Order Carnivora and are indeed carnivores (meat-eaters); but they also eat fruits and grains, so by diet they are more properly omnivores... but that's a matter for taxonomists.

Foxes cannot cross-breed with dogs or other canids, having a different number of chromosomes. If you see a foxy-looking dog, that's exactly what it is: a dog with foxy features, not a dog-fox cross.

Foxes are distinctively shaped, with pointy muzzles, large ears, long thin bodies and long legs, and long bushy tails. The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is typically the largest of all foxes, and is the type most people think of when they think "fox." Other widely known foxes include the Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoarargenteus - aka "Tree Fox" because they can climb trees); the Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus); and the ever-popular Fennec (Vulpes zerda - or Fennecus zerda, depending on your sources), the smallest of the foxes in spite of its huge ears. Foxes can be found in most parts of the world, like the African Bat-Eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis) and Cape Fox (Vulpes charma)... and thanks to the popularity of fox hunting among some British colonists, foxes can even be found in Australia!

Since Latin gets tiring, we'll drop it and concentrate mostly on our North American friend, the Red Fox.

The Red Fox usually features red-orange fur, a white tummy with white markings on its muzzle and on the tip of its tail, and black stockings on its legs. The pointed ears may be all black, or may be black-tipped; black markings on the muzzle are not uncommon. The Red Fox may sport a tawny yellow coat, or in some areas a silver or black coat. During the onset of Summer, the fox sheds his fur from underneath the newer coat, giving him a distinctively shaggy appearance which is often mistaken for mange. They shed this extra fur over a period of a couple of weeks and resume their svelte 'normal' appearance. With the coming of Winter, the fox's coat will grow thick and plush to help stave off the cold.

Foxes are family-oriented critters, often forming lifetime attachments when it comes time to raise young ones. During the rest of the year, however, the male (dog) fox and the female (vixen) live separately, mostly at the insistence of the highly territorial female. Spring Fever (1998) When Autumn rolls around and the vixen starts feeling amorous, she lets the male know by her scent marking, which changes to advertise her feelings on the matter. At this point the male will reappear and court the female, and will hang around through the Winter until the kids (kits) are born and the vixen can hunt for herself again. He will hang around into the early Spring to make sure they are well provided for, then take off for a Summer of fun and frolic.

The kits have a relatively easy life up to a point. The vixen feeds them and grooms them until they are reasonably mobile, then hunts small game and brings it back to the den so the young ones can learn and practice their hunting skills. Once they are grown and able to fend for themselves, however, Momma Vixen suddenly turns snarly and mean, and will chase them away to find their own territories - thus ensuring that a local disaster does not wipe out the entire next generation. Since it is the vixen who decides where she will raise her next family, it is not uncommon for one of the daughters to return home if Momma is gone, continuing the cycle in a familiar environment.

Foxes mostly eat small mammals and wounded birds, and are not above scrounging a meal from a garbage can if the pickings seem safe. Although foxes are infamous in stories and legend for raiding the hen house, most foxes prefer to avoid noisy prey and will not enter any situation that seems too suspicious. Similarly, foxes rarely attack dogs or cats - the former because they are noisy and likely to attract attention, the latter because they are armed and troublesome. A fox will usually fight off a dog only to protect its family, and only if there is no other choice. Most foxes prefer to lead a dog away from the den and into foreign territory, there to lose it and return without doing battle. (When family pets or small livestock do disappear, the culprit is often a coyote, a raccoon or another dog. The fox may enjoy a snack once the deed is done if there are leftovers, but will rarely go after anything that might sound an alarm.)

A fox appearing in your backyard or neighborhood does not automatically imply that the animal is rabid. Foxes are wary of humans, but will not fear them unless given a good reason. They can and do live near humans so long as they feel safe in doing so. A popular British series, FoxWatch, documented the lives of some urban foxes as they scurried about the streets and back alleys, raising a family in the crawlspace of an abandoned building.

However, under no circumstances should anyone try to pet a fox or any other wild animal. Foxes are highly susceptible to rabies, as are dogs and raccoons, and rabies is no joke. Any animal acting 'suspiciously' should be avoided, period!

So: that's the basic story of the fox. Following are questions that FoxWeb Friends have sent in over the years - so dig in and enjoy the continuing hunt for foxy info!


There's a fox in/near my yard. What do I do?
That's easy. Rejoice!

Okay, okay... once you're done rejoicing, the question is usually along the lines of, What can I do to encourage the fox to stay? (If your question is, Should I worry for my children or pets? - click here regarding rabies or here in regard to pets.)

Foxes will hang out near humans if they perceive an advantage in doing so - that is to say, if they feel reasonably safe and there is a food supply nearby. A vixen will make her home underneath a shed or in a woodpile and raise her kits there if the site seems reasonably free of humans. Foxes are playfully curious, and will often visit near humans if it suits them to do so.

To encourage foxes onto your property, abandon an area of your yard and let it go Wild. A medium- to large-sized brush pile makes a great home for a fox, for example; or a loose pile of branches; or any sort of platform with loose, diggable dirt underneath. The area must have open access (no fences or impassable shrubs enclosing it) and will need to be away from roaming dogs; no vixen will raise her kits where a dog might come by and find them. Young children are also a no-no, foxwise, because kids are usually noisy and unpredictable.

If there is water nearby or a reasonable food source, the fox is more likely to find the area attractive.

If you know of an area where foxes live and their home is destroyed or disturbed (by developers, for example), chances are the foxes will move. Foxes hate bulldozers. Many developers are not that keen on foxes, for that matter, and will try to trap or poison them if they can. There's not much you can do in that case; the fox will find a new home on its own, and any attempts to create a new home will seem highly suspicious. Your best bet: do nothing, and see what happens.

If a fox does make its home near your yard, you'd do well to stay quiet and calm in the vicinity of its home, never getting close enough to be threatening and not acting in a suspicious or intimidating manner. A fox will allow you reasonably near - fair is fair, after all - but only so long as you don't pose a threat. What a fox finds threatening varies from fox to fox, so the best plan is to keep your distance. And rejoice quietly.

How do I get a fox to leave my yard/garden/area?
Admittedly, foxes are smelly and can be rather destructive, and not everyone wants them in their lives. They are actually good neighbors overall since they eat mice, rats and bugs that would otherwise infest your area; but some people would prefer they do so somewhere else.

The best way to encourage a fox to move on is to be an active presence wherever you don't want the fox to be. Foxes are curious but wary, and if it seems like you are trying to trap them, they'll move on. The trick is, you can't just go out and make noises once or twice a day, as foxes are clever and will catch on to a routine... as in, "It's safe to live here as long as I'm elsewhere at 11:45 and 4:15."

At random times during the day and evening, walk in the area where the fox is hanging out and work that part of your yard. If you have a dog (or access to a neighbor's dog), walk her around your property at random and let her mark her territory as she will. This will make the fox think there's a dog loose nearby, a sure deterrent if the dog is not adhering to a schedule. If there is a special place where the fox is hanging out, leave a tool or three in that area overnight, then move them the next day. This will make the fox think something is up, and they'll warily move on.

There's no such thing in the States as Fox-Away, a chemical you can spray that will keep foxes from moving in. In England there is a liquid called Renadine which supposedly works to discourage foxes; but you have to use it frequently, and the smell is apparently enough to drive most humans away as well... not much benefit there. (We've recently been told that Renadine is no longer legal in the U.K., so it's not really an option any more.)

Last but not least, you can add a fence around your yard to discourage animals from visiting, but if you leave part of your yard abandoned, a fox may eventually find a way in and make themselves at home. To keep them away, use your property and keep it up, and your unwelcome visitor will find someplace quieter to live.

What do you call a group of foxes?
A group of geese is a gaggle; a group of lions is a pride.
A group of foxes is a rare and lovely sight, beautiful to behold. But if you need something shorter for everyday conversation, a group of foxes is called a skulk.

How many different kinds of foxes are there?
Depending on who you talk to, there are five or six varieties of foxes common to North America, and perhaps 23 species around the world. Getting back to Latin for a moment, the 14 foxes of the northern hemisphere are mostly of the genus Vulpes, while the 8 South American foxes are of the genus Pseudalopex (formerly Dusicyon); the African Bat-Eared Fox is species #23, genus Otocyon - but again, it depends on which authority you subscribe to.

The five most common varieties of fox in North America are:

  • Red Foxes
  • Gray Foxes
  • Arctic Foxes
  • Kit Foxes
  • Swift Foxes
Some people list Kit Foxes and Swift Foxes as the same species, located in different areas; but according to nice folks at the Cochrane Ecological Institute, Dr. Robert Wayne at UCLA has determined through DNA tracing that the Swift Fox is indeed a separate species - so! (Their link moves from time to time, but can currently be found here.)

There is a sixth variety, the Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis), specific to the Channel Islands near southern California. They are descendents of the Gray Fox and break down into six separate subspecies according to their specific island of origin.

I'm sure I've seen a black fox. Is there such a thing?
In the north, Red Foxes take on a variety of colors ranging from tawny yellow to silver to black. The black is actually black-tipped guard hairs over a silver undercoat, and (unfortunately) is highly prized by furriers.

A different sort of fox, the Cross Fox, is another variety of Red Fox with a black stripe over his/her shoulders and another running down the back, forming a cross - hence the name.

Do foxes interbreed with ___________ - ?
If __________ is anything except 'fox' then the answer is No. Vulpines (foxes) look like dogs, wolves and coyotes, but they are distinctly different and share little or no common ancestry. Dogs, wolves and coyotes can (and do) interbreed. From a veterinary standpoint, foxes are more similar to housecats than to dogs.

There are a number of dog breeds that look rather foxy. If you see a dog that looks like it's half fox and half poodle (for example), chances are that the 'fox' half is actually an American Eskimo (Spitz), Shelte, Pemboke Welsh Corgi, or even a Samoyed - all of whom have foxy features.

What is the lifespan of a fox?
Sadly, many foxes don't survive childhood and die before their first birthday. In the wild, the average life expectancy of a fox is 18-24 months before they are killed by one predator or another - humans, dogs, coyotes, and so on. A ripe old age for a fox in the wild would be about 8 years. A fox that received constant veterinary care could reach 14 years of age, which would make him a wise old fox indeed!

How long does a vixen's pregnancy last?
Approximately 8 weeks, give or take a few days.

What is a fox's home called?
A den.

I've heard that foxes who get close to humans are usually rabid. Is this dangerous?
There are several issues here, and they're all important.

If you're not doing anything threatening and the neighborhood is quiet, a fox can and will get very close out of curiosity or if it is hungry. Urban foxes often raid trash cans and compost piles looking for tidbits, especially if there are young ones or a hungry mate to care for. That aside, it often happens that foxes investigate new territories to find out what's happening - to make sure there are no new threats, or to see if a good restaurant has moved into the area. So: if a fox gets close and doesn't seem spooked, that doesn't necessarily mean it is rabid.

Having said that: foxes are easily susceptible to rabies, as are raccoons and dogs. Rabies is a dangerous disease and is not something to take lightly. If you have reason to believe there is an outbreak of rabies in your area, it would best to give any oddly-acting animal a wide berth.

In no case should you try to catch or pet any wild animal, regardless.

Is a fox likely to eat my pet ___________?
If your ___________ is a mouse, hamster, rabbit or goldfish who roams the neighborhood at night without a collar, then you're probably asking for trouble. (And we would really like to get a picture of that if you have one to spare!) If we're talking a dog or cat, chances are your pet is safe.

Very young puppies and kittens are in that indeterminate range; if a fox is really hungry, the puppy or kitten is very young and nearly helpless, and the two find each other out in the middle of nowhere... maybe. However, any animal that can run, fight back or scream for help or who smells of humans will probably not find itself on the menu. Foxes are too wary to bother.

A fox will defend its den if it has kits and there is no way to lead a pet away, but the same is true of most overprotective mothers, so....

Will a fox attack children?
As a rule, no. However (as with pets, above), foxes will defend their homes if they have kits and if a child is too persistent in hanging around the den. Foxes prefer to run away, leading the predator (child, dog, whatever) away from the den; but if there is no other way to protect the kits, a fox will bare its fangs and try to drive the predator away. A child who persists in trying to get near a litter of kits is asking for trouble; so encourage your child to respect wildlife from a distance, not up close.

That aside: children playing in their own yard or a playground or walking to/from home should be perfectly safe from foxes.

How big is a fox?
Red foxes are usually a little larger than your average housecat. They are 15" from ground to shoulders (standing), and about 26" from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. Foxes often look bigger when moving because they have a disproportionately long tail, anywhere from 12" - 24" from base of tail to tip; this makes the moving fox 48" long!

Do foxes have really keen eyes?
Well, we think they're pretty....

Sadly, foxes have very weak eyesight which is mostly geared towards detecting movement. If you see a fox and stand very still, there is a fair chance the fox won't see you.

On the other hand, the fox's hearing and sense of smell are way above average.

Can foxes see in color?
We don't have exact specs on this, but tests indicate that foxes see about the same range of colors as dogs, meaning they have dichromatic color vision. Dogs lack the ability to see green, specifically, and apparently can't tell green from red or yellow. (This condition is found in humans, as well, and is the most common sort of "color blindness.") What this means is, you should not let a fox borrow your car, because they can't tell the difference between a green light and a red one and are likely to run the intersection.

What is a fox's hearing range?
A fox can hear sounds up to 65,000Hz at a range of up to 160 feet. This is substantially better than humans, whose hearing tops out around 22,000Hz at best.

What sort of sounds do foxes make?
Foxes make a variety of sounds, from a high-pitched wail to a short, yipping bark, plus chuckles and "churrr"-type sounds. We don't have any recordings to share ourselves, but The Fox Forest does and the owner thereof has allowed us to link to his page. Click here and look for a menu item near the top titled Up Close, then select the drop-down item Voices Carry; There you can hear foxes in full voice. (Note: clicking the link will open a new browser.)

How fast is a fox?
Assuming we're not talking the Volkswagen version, a fox can hit 35mph running flat out. A VW Fox can do slightly better, going downhill with a trailing wind. (Okay, VW fans, it's just a joke....)

Can foxes swim?
Definitely! It's not at the top of their Things To Do list, but foxes have no problems swimming a reasonable distance if the need is there.

Is it true that Red Foxes were
introduced to America by European hunters?

Yes and no. Red Fox fossils have been found in North America which date back thousands of years, long before Columbus (or the Vikings, either, if you're one of those people). However, these foxes tended to stay in the fields and forests of the Northwest and Midwest, and so were not common to the east coast where Europeans first settled.

In the 17th century, European fox hunters tried hunting the indigenous Gray Foxes, only to discover that these foxes were no fun: they went to ground (i.e. went home) at the first sign of trouble - unlike the beloved Red Fox, who would lead the hounds and hunters around and about for hours, providing great 'sport.' So a series of mating pairs were released in the U.S. where they quickly spread throughout the northeast and have been happily populating ever since.

What are male and female foxes called?
The male fox is a dog; the female fox is a vixen.

What are baby foxes called?
Good question! The three most common answers are:

  • Cub
  • Kit
  • Pup
We prefer Kit - but I suspect fox parents have their own names for their young, They've never asked us, so.

Quick trivia: if you buy a plastic assemble-it-yourself model of
a baby Kit Fox, you would have a Kit Fox Kit Kit!

'Dog' isn't a very pretty term for a male fox.
Shouldn't the male be called a Tod or a Renard?

You can call them Fred for all of us; it's the lexicologists who are responsible for such things in human terms. We suspect the male fox is more interested in what vixens want to call them, in any case.

What is a fox's tail called?
A brush.

Do foxes mate for life?
Do humans?

Some do and some don't. Vixens turn romantic in the early winter, and the male fox will hang around until well after the kits are born. It is usually up to the vixen to raise the little tykes once they are on their feet, but the male fox will often be seen in the vicinity helping out one way or another (building decks, watching TV, going out for chips... that sort of thing).

Come the next winter, males and females often seek out the same mate for another winter of romantic entanglements and family rearing. But some males seek out more than one vixen, and sometimes families break up for no good reason at all.

How many kits are in a litter?
The average is four; three-five is common.

What do foxes eat?
Just about anything! Foxes are omnivores, and while they seem to prefer meat, they also go for nuts, berries, fruit of all sorts, vegetables, and even grains! Red Foxes who have decided to live near humans (for whatever reason) will eat pretty much anything a human will.

- with the possible exception of Wendy's Spicy Chicken Combo....

There are some foxes living nearby.
Should I set out food for them?

It's better for them if you don't. Foxes are good hunters as well as scavengers, and usually don't need help finding things to eat. The real danger to foxes who get handouts from humans is, not all humans are comfortable having foxes around, fearing that the fox will harm their pets or children or might have rabies. A fox that decides humans are a good source for easy snacks is likely to run into trouble, so it's best not to encourage them in that direction.

Do foxes make good pets?

In a word: No!

The problem is the word 'pet.' Most people take it to mean a handy companion, a non-human buddy you can emotionally bond with, an animal you can keep in an apartment and drop off at a friend's house (or at the vet) when you want to go on vacation. When people think of a wild ('exotic') animal as a pet, they usually do so for one of two reasons: 1) they saw or read something that featured the animal and made that animal seem friendly or empathetic; or 2) they want to own a cool pet, something that will be the envy of all their friends.

We won't bother with the second reason here. People who want a cool pet to impress their friends are just as likely to buy the animal's fur for seat covers. The animal is an object in this case - like a cool car or cool stereo system - and such people can't be reasoned with. Ruining a life to impress your friends is not reasonable, period.

So let's talk about bonding with a wild animal. First off, foxes do not behave the way they are portrayed in cartoons, comics, TV shows and feature films. Animals are smarter than most people give them credit for, and they do have emotions, but they do not have human-type thoughts and emotions. People who want to bond with an animal inately feel that animals are better, somehow - that an animal will understand them the way no human ever will. This feeling is usually empowered by fiction, either on film or in print. Please believe: there is a huge difference between a cartoon and reality, and all the wishing in the world ain't gonna make it different.

Domesticated animals (dogs, cats, parakeets) can be tamed and trained to be in-home companions, but even they require care and maintenance if they are to thrive. A wild animal cannot thrive in an apartment or a basement, or even a small yard. The best a human can do to live with a wild animal is to adapt their home and lifestyle to that of the animal, which implies owning a ranch or a lot of acreage and having the resources to devote all your time to raising wild animals. Most people don't have the room or the personal resources to devote their entire lives to raising an exotic. Those that do are either professional animal trainers or fur ranchers, and in neither case do they see the animals as 'pets.'

The animal's interests aside, there are a number of very practical reasons why foxes don't make good pets. First off, owning one as a pet is illegal in most cities, in many counties and some states. To own one at all in most places you have to be licensed as a breeder (which means dedicating a lot of land to the operation and being approved by the government), or you have to have a special permit allowing you to own an exotic animal - the latter becoming more rare every day. Owning one without the proper permit or license means your 'pet' is subject to confiscation and will be destroyed if discovered. (State agencies don't relocate or rehabilitate illegal wild animals; they generally don't have the time or resources to bother trying.)

Second, most vets are not licensed to deal with exotic animals and can lose their license to practice at all if they do so 'under the table.' Foxes in captivity need regular attention to keep them healthy since they are not free to take care of themselves, so skipping the vet is a Bad Idea all around. (The same applies to most domestic animals, for that matter. Living with humans is not very healthy for non-humans, overall.) Vets licensed to treat a fox will ask to see your 'exotic' license or permit... so.

Legalities aside, most pet-vets don't have a clue how to treat a fox; it's not part of their training.

Third: foxes smell. They can't help it; they like the way they smell. The odor is strongly similar to that of a skunk - not what you want neighbors to call the police about.

Fourth: foxes are playfully destructive. They like to dig, and they don't have any problem shredding your mattress or sofa cushions; they think carpeting is a challenge since the stuff gives and (therefore) must be diggable if they can just find the right spot. They also like to gnaw on things for fun. Foxes are not as creatively destructive as raccoons, who like to open containers and cabinets to see what's behind Box #3... they are more in the Very Naughty Dog category.

Most of all: a fox will never be happy in captivity. Foxes need a lot of room to roam, and they want to do so according to their schedule. They are territorial and like to pick their own territory. Confined to a room or a small yard, they will pine away and be miserable - not the sort of thing anyone should do to their animal soulmate.

Back to legalities: when illegally housed foxes are discoverd, they are usually destroyed by the local police department or animal control officers rather than 'rescued' to a zoo or wildlife rehab center. Fear of rabies in the wild, combined with the common perception that foxes are noxious animals, dooms most captured foxes to a rapid and sometimes painful death. There are some wildlife rehab centers that will accept foxes if they are brought in by law enforcement agents; but they are few and far between, and most police and sheriff's departments can't be bothered (or can't afford the resources to be bothered...).

It is possible to have a wild fox for a companion, if you are willing to do so on his (or her) terms. Doing so involves many of the same skills as hunting, except the shooting you do will be with a camera. (Better yet, with a sketchbook or digital camera; the 'click' of a normal camera will scare away many wild animals, initially.) If you are quiet, patient and non-threatening, it is possible that foxes will tolerate you being in their territory after a few weeks. The trick is to be as consistent and non-threatening as possible, to allow the foxes to get used to your being there. Once you are part of a harmless landscape, they will accept your presence - as long as you remain non-threatening.

In other words, you can become a fox's 'pet' - living according to his lifestyle and at his convenience. It will never work out the other way 'round.

If you want a pet for your home or apartment, there are lots of ready-made pets who are literally dying for love: cats and dogs in your nearest Humane Shelter. There are many foxy dog breeds which would make wonderful companions. Please consider getting a real pet and saving a life, and leave wildlife in the wild.

What about a fur-farm fox?
I'd be saving it's life...?

Nice idea - but no.

Foxes raised to be pelts are not bred to be loveable; they are bred for the beauty of their fur. It's a miserable existence to be sure, and the foxes grow up fearful and schizo - eager to be fed and scared to death of the person feeding them. Fox kits are not trainable the way puppies are trainable, so getting them young is not a solution. It looks cute in The Fox & the Hound, but again: there is a huge difference between cartoons and real life.

FYI: releasing fur-farm foxes into the wild is not a good idea either. They are not prepared to live in the wild, and are often more prone to disease due to inbreeding. The only way to help a fur-farm fox is to keep them from becoming fur-farm foxes in the first place... but that's another story.

Where can I buy a fox?
We don't keep that information onhand; sorry.

If you are determined to get a fox for a pet no matter what,
PLEASE do so legally and with the help of a local veterinarian.
Too many animals die needlessly because someone wants a 'cool' pet
without concern for the welfare of the animal - and there are lots of
real pets dying for lack of a good home at the Humane Shelter.

Do everyone a favor and consider a loving, non-exotic pet.

I heard they're breeding pet foxes in __________;
is this true?

There is a recent and persistent rumor to the effect that 'they' (breeders, scientists) somewhere in Europe or Russia are breeding foxes as pets - as in, 'Oh boy, a pet fox!' This is not true.

What's up is as follows: some time ago, Russian biologists attempted to breed the wildness out of fur-farm foxes to make them easier to handle, something the breeders themselves had been unable to do. After 20 years of effort, what the biologists ended up with was indeed tame; but it was a fox in name only. The animals had floppy ears, multiple reproductive cycles per year, spotted or patterned coats, and barked like any ol' dog - tail-wagging, face licking and all. The researchers had created a sort of dog-fox. This was of vast interest to the biologists, but (thankfully) was no use whatsoever to the fur breeders because the result was no longer foxlike.

Anyone familiar with New Zealand's comic strip Footrot Flats would recognize the 'tame fox' as a bushy-tailed version of Dog. So far as it being a tame fox, however, a Welsh Corgi looks more like a fox and is already widely available.

I'm starting a foxhunting club.
Where can I get some foxes?

If any foxes come to us looking for that sort of employment, we'll post notice on the FoxWeb.

Foxes are eating my chickens.
How can I discourage them?

At a guess, the chickens are probably pretty discouraged already!

We've had several folks ask how they can discourage foxes from eating their chickens or rabbits, short of trapping, shooting or poisoning the foxes; and we applaud such effort wholeheartedly! Unfortunately, foxes are so adaptable that there is no chemical such as FoxAway that will absolutely scare off a hungry fox.

The best bet is to get a dog and walk the perimeter of your property, allowing the dog to scent-mark her territory as she goes. Vary your walks to make it seem the dog has free run of the area. Done on a regular basis, this will make a fox think twice before he does his shopping in your henhouse or hutch - especially if the doghouse is conveniently nearby.

Finally: avoid dumping chicken (or rabbit) droppings anywhere near the breeding grounds. Anything that smells like Dinner Slept Here will entice a fox to take extra chances, especially if he has hungry young or a mate waiting at home.

We can't really vouch for this ourselves, but....

One ingenious rancher took leftover chicken parts and marinated them in Tabasco sauce, then left them at the edge of his property as an offering to the local foxes. After sampling this spicy repast, the foxes refused to go anywhere near his chickens, ever again.

If you try this and it works for you, let us know!

What are some foreign names for foxes?
There are bunches of names for foxes in lots of different languages, and FoxWeb Friends have sent in a number of additions - many of them requiring specialized character sets that most Web browsers don't support. Native Americans apparently have as many names for foxes as there are tribes of Native Americans, so we've given up on that for the time being....

Here's a small sampling of names from around the world:

  • Alepou (Greek)
  • Chu la (Choctaw Tribe, Native American)
  • Fuchs (German)
  • Hu (Chinese)
  • I na li (Cherokee Tribe, Native American - means 'Black Fox')
  • Kettu (Finnish)
  • Kitsune (Japanese)
  • Kiwaku (Pawnee Tribe, Native American - means 'White Fox')
  • Lis (Polish)
  • Lisa (Russian) - also Lis (male), Lisitza (female), Lisyonok (kit)
  • Lishka (Czech)
  • Llwynog (Welsh)
  • Mickel (Old Swedish - commonly 'Mickel Räv')
  • Punaturkki (Finnish slang - roughly, 'redfur')
  • Raposa (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Räv (Swedish)
  • Rubah (Indonesian)
  • Renard (French)
  • Repolainen or Repo (Finnish common slang)
  • Roka (Hungarian)
  • Sionnach (Gaelic)
  • Ti li pe (Nez Perce Tribe, Native American)
  • Tod (British slang)
  • To ka la luta (Dakota Tribe, Native American - 'Red Fox')
  • Toka no (Assiniboin Tribe, Native American - 'Gray Fox')
  • Tso la (Creek Tribe, Native American)
  • Tsula (Cherokee Tribe, Native American)
  • Volpe (Italian)
  • Vos (Dutch)
  • Vulpes (Latin)
  • Waagoosh (Ojibwe Tribe, Native American)
  • Wa ko (Menomi Tribe, Native American - means 'Red Fox')
  • Wokwses (Abenaki Tribe, Native American)
  • Yowu (Korean)
  • Zorro (Spanish)

There are lots of others; but this list is a start!

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