04.04.2005 - Every now and then I catch a fox. Such as today. Today I caught a fox. I never intend to catch a fox. They simply wander into my trap. I usually bait with non-meat items, so as not to attract cats. My target species for this size of a trap,
usually raccoons, opossums, or armadillos, do not need meaty bait. Yet foxes are lured into the traps regardless. I don't know if they're simply scavenging up the marshmallow (or whatever I've used) bait, or if they can smell the scent of a previously caught opossum,
but I've caught several foxes.
I like foxes. They're shy and graceful. I sometimes wonder how they survive. I guess it's their cunning ways that save the day. I think that the fox is a pretty animal, but the ones here in Florida are fairly mangy. They have thin fur and scrawny bodies, probably to cope with the heat. The foxes up north are more plump, with thick and fluffy pelts. On the plus side, I doubt the foxes down here would be hunted for their fur. I sure wouldn't wear a fox scarf from a Florida fox. I wouldn't wear any kind of fox scarf. I'm more of an earmuff kind of guy. I'd slaughter and process the skin of some innocent foxes in order to wear some fine fox earmuffs.
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The North American Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes is the scientific name for a red fox. These canine cousins are closely related to those familiar family dogs and share many of the same physical characteristics.
The canids classification includes domesticated dogs, foxes, wolves and coyotes. While genetically predisposed to a carnivore diet, a fox can eat veggies and other food if there is no meat available. A typical red fox has some red and amber colors in its thick coat of fur. The underside of the body, chest and neck are covered with white or gray fur. There are black tips on the front legs and behind the ears. The eyes are usually amber to brown in color and are set close together in a triangular shaped face. The muzzle is long and pointed with some black markings and the nose is also black in color. While these colors are most typical there are some foxes that display variant coloring such as white, black or silver. There is even a fox with two perpendicular stripes that resemble a ‘cross' on its back. A fox molts its fur during the spring season. The new coat of fur will grow in slowly over the next few months. The autumn coat on a fox is so beautiful that some people still hunt the animals to obtain this long, silky fur.
Life and Reproduction Cycle
The fox breeding season occurs during the winter. The gestation period for a female fox is 49-55 days. Females give birth once a year, during the late winter or early spring months. The fox cubs are born in an underground den, a hollow tree or other low nesting site. The male will bring food in for its mate while she is caring for the offspring. A typical fox litter is 4-5 cubs. A baby fox has short, thick black fur and must be cared for in a manner similar to that of any puppy. By the age of 4-5 weeks the young fox cubs begin to leave the den with their mother. Both parents will provide food for their offspring for the next few months. Cubs will be weaned by the time summer is approaching. This is the time when a young fox will be encouraged to find some of its own food. When fall arrives the cubs and parents will look very much alike in coloring and size. This is the time of year when the juveniles begin to leave and find new homes. A fox is a relatively small mammal weighing 10-15 pounds. If you measured the fox you would discover that the average length is 60-72 inches and almost half of the length is due to the bushy tail. The size of a fox depends on both the species, and where the animal lives. A red fox in North America is distinctly larger than its British counterpart. Although a fox will live 12 years or longer while in captivity a wild fox will generally live for only 2-3 years. Less than 10% of all wild foxes will make it to the age of 5.
There are documented fox species that now exist in many areas of the world. These adaptable and clever animals live in the cold arctic regions as well in the hot desert lands. While the red fox is more at home in woods and meadows this animal can certainly create a home and survive in almost any type of outdoor environment. A fox may dig a den in the ground or simply choose to use an old badger hole as a new home. Some foxes will make homes in the low branches of sturdy trees or create a den in some thick shrubs. Foxes like to use old hollows in trees or hollow logs as the sites for their family homes. There are even a number of fox dens that have been discovered in, or near, outdoor sheds and buildings.
Common Diseases These Animals Spread
The fox is a known carrier of rabies, although certainly not all of these animals will contract the disease. Fleas and lice live in the fur of a fox and these parasitic insects can transmit bacterial or viral infections to humans. A fox might also spread mange or the parvo virus to other animals.
Common Nuisance Problems
Foxes do attack chickens and rabbits if given the opportunity. While the fox only kills in order to eat, this is still a problem for farmers who do not want their farm animals to become menu items for a cunning fox. The problem of rabies is a major concern for many people, especially those who automatically assume every fox has this disease. Additionally, there are occasions they build their dens close to buildings.
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