Fox ( Vulpes vulpes)

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Author of the description: 
Gerlinger Eszter Judit

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Canidae

Tribe: Vulpini

Genus: Vulpes

Species: V.vulpes


Eleven fox species distinguished in the genus of foxes, in Hungary, mostly the red fox is called simply fox.


The red fox is the most widespread terrestrial carnivore. We can find it from the North-Central America and the Arctic Circle to North Africa, including a large Asian steppes as well. In the 19 Century also introduced into Australia. The landscape “alien” red foxes played a major role in the process of many native species become scarce and in the drastic extinction of some species. Superior adaptability: as narrowing of the natural habitats, they moved into human settlements and agricultural areas of production. The vertical spread is almost unlimited, can be found at altitudes around 3000 meters. Not picky, generalist species, found everywhere in living conditions, which demonstrates a wide spread.

Morphology, anatomy

The fox's face skull is wasted, tacky-tailed, pointy-eared, elliptic-eyed animal. Dominated by the reddish hair on his body, darker on the back bar stretches along that same strip crosses the shoulder. The coat has a lighter, whitish or greyish tinge. The end of the tail is white, light grey, or specifically, the outer half of the legs and ears are black on the muzzle of the tactile hair length may exceed 10 cm. Color changes during the moult of the year. The tail length of up to 70% of the total body length. He has the typical trace of the Canidae family, on the front limbs five and four toes on the back. His body is about 60 cm long, the weight is 6-7kg.


He chooses his warren named residence with caution. In favorable circumstances, the foxes don’t spade their warrens undermine but to settle in badgers abandoned warrens. Often they move in to caves and other natural cavities, but in ruins, also into rocks; rotten cavity trees and dense thicket or abandoned sand pits cavity is satisfied. Sometimes they find winter home in stacks.

The puppies are in breast-fed about 3 weeks, and then they live for a week of mixed diet, in the 4th week they are being begun weaning. In this stage of life pre-digested food are given to them by their parents. When the little foxes are 10-12 weeks old, they begin to learn hunting. Mainly at night, but in quiet, secluded places they hunt in broad daylight. The fox in the long summer days begins hunting at several hours before sunset with the puppies. In steady cold weather and heavy snow they only relax in the morning hours. As long as they can, they walk in the scrub. The fox eats almost everyting from the young roe to all the bugs, but they also likes eat carrion. The fox's main source of food is the mice and vole, but it contains rabbits, hares and fawn. The not consume only the eggs and flappers of nesting birds, but the fledged birds can be caught too. They swim well, so the nests of water birds are not safe from them. They cause damage to the poultry house. In the gardens and vineyards they catch the locusts, millers larvae, eat the ripe fruits. In winter, deep snow, when they can't get proper nourishment, often lies close to the people in the hope of finding some food in the waste.


The fox reaches sexual maturity at the age 10 month, so that the foxes have a birth in the post-reproductive cycle may also participate. The mating period is called rut, it usually lasts from December to February. Their gland wich called violet smells of a very strong odour. During this time, the young fox book or draw warren for cubbing or rearing.

Gestation period is 52-53 days long. The postpartum falls period mid-March, or in the middle of April. After the pregnancy born 3-8 approximately 100 g, chocolate brown, woolly hair covered puppy to the world. A fox cubs once every year.


A fox’s moving area depending on the food supply can vary 30-1300 ha. The young foxes leave their parents area in September. The males migrate farther, the females stay closer to their places of birth. The migrated animals book their own territory to the next reproductive cycle

Role in ecosysten, public health and economy

Part of the fox’s fur, small game and partly because of the devastation of the poultry house hunted since time immemorial. Because of the natural enemies of large-bodied predatorsof the fox such as bear and wolf had been hunted out long years ago and larger prey birds wich can capture the fox also strongly reduced now only a man and variety of diseases can limit the fox population. It was hunted throughout the year, but the fox was shot primarily in the winter because of his valuable fur. Because of the change in fashion and the campaigns of animal rights organizations declined to wear fur, hunting pressure has decreased. For these reasons, the mid-90s the domestic fox population has increased strongly, urbanization also started. Today, warrens are found in the settlements, especially in the urban areas of undisturbed, undeveloped lots, parks and industrial areas. These urban foxes show little fear of humans live perfect on the accumulated waste.

Pressure from the European Union has begun an oral rabies immunization, however, released a new disease, called scabies. In the beginning of this decade new domestic temporarily reduced the fox population, but rabies is still attends within our borders.

The continuously increasing population’s predation pressure has created a serious emergency for the ground-nesting birds. By now the natural enemy free in point of view wildlife management, conservation and public health, could cause serious problems. For the game managers the small game, for the conservation of endangered by destroying species. Keeping the populations, sometimes reduce them it is a very important task of our time.

Role in the soil

The fox has an important role in the soil, because the foxhole is a ground cavity, which they sometimes occupy from badgers. If the underground service and chamber system is quite extensive, they could live with them for long time. If the fox doesn’t have a badger hole he buries himself the warren. Selecting the place the sunbrust and the convertance is an important consideration.


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