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Scientific name : Vulpes vulpes
Family : Canidae
Leng. 45 to 90 cm, Weight 3 to 14 kg
The Red Fox, also called Common Fox, Red Fox or, Goupil, is a species of medium-sized Canidae. It is the most common fox in Eurasia, North America, North Africa and Australia. It is a red-skinned mammal with white under the belly and throat, pointed muzzle, straight ears and bushy tail. The Red Fox has an elongated body with relatively short limbs in relation to its size. Her tail, which is longer than half her body, is long, fluffy and touches the ground when standing. It ends with a small tuft of white hairs. It serves the animal to balance and keeps it warm when it sleeps and envelops it. The general appearance of the male and the female differs little, and it is not easy to distinguish them. The female is slightly smaller and lighter. Its frame is also thinner. The fur of the Red Fox is dense, soft, silky and relatively long, especially in winter. It allows it to withstand very cold temperatures, down to -13 ° C.
The Red Fox is omnivorous. It consumes an average of 600 kcal daily, ie 300 to 600 g of food, and feeds mainly on rodents of rabbits and birds, but also insects, fish or fruit.
The Red Fox, unlike many canids that hunt in packs, goes in search of food alone. It hunts early in the morning, before the sun rises, and late at night. In winter, it also hunts during the day when the rodents are active. When hunting small rodents, it uses a very special technique called mulotage. He first spotted his prey at the sound and approached it slowly, without making the least noise. Once the prey is well identified and within reach, it is placed in position, with forelegs stretched and legs bent and ears directed towards the prey, then jump into the air to fall on its prey, which can be located up to 5 m from him. This one is then killed on the blow of a bite at the nape of the neck. Only one jump out of five is successful. For his other prey, he uses the hunting technique. Thus when hunting the rabbit it approaches slowly, stopping its advance when the prey stops its activity or looks in its direction, before launching the pursuit race as soon as it is close enough. The victim is killed by a bite at the nape of the neck and is dismembered before being consumed.
The fox can also use trickery, to reach its prey. He pretends to be dead, to catch a raven for example. In spring it is easy to capture ground-nesting females as ducks or partridges.
The Red Fox breeds, according to the region, from December to February, for a birth on the beautiful days (gestation of about 50 days). This is done in the shelter of a burrow, whereas the rest of the year, the fox lives almost exclusively in the open air. The young are first fed by the milk of their mother, then, little by little, the couple of parents brings them meat. They begin to leave the burrow at the end of four weeks, are weaned at nine weeks, and after spending the summer with their parents, they disperse in the autumn.
The Red Fox have a fairly wide range of vocalizations, and produce sounds in five octaves. The Red fox is a digitigrade, that is to say it moves on the fingers. It leaves a characteristic imprint on the ground, where the fingers appear more distant from the heel than on the imprint of a dog.
The Red Fox is an animal considered cunning, and is often represented in tales, as in the fables of Aesop, which the fabulist Jean de La Fontaine resumes later, or in the Asian legends, where he appears as malicious and endowed Of magical powers.
It is hunted for its fur, for pleasure, for its depredations on small livestock and also because the fox is one of the vectors of rabies and alveolar echinococcosis, but an anti-rabies vaccination campaign has Rapidly eradicated Western European rabies.
Footprint Red Fox :