The Fox has been around as long as Mankind of this age has, and has been featured in movies, in fable stories and throughout local folklore. But this little smart animal is a piece of work as you will discover throughout this reading, and it is so smart that it hunts it's prey live and then murder it quickly, so it can go on and eat. And the fox does not discriminate too much, since it is a carnivorous animal, and will eat for example: Rodents, worms, fish, grasshopper, insects, , song birds, ducks, quails, partridges, pheasants, eggs, bird... All because it must survive, it must last as long as Mankind.
Facts About The Fox
The Fox stores it's food so that it can be consumed later on during the day. Foxes are basically nocturnal animals and prefer to hunt at night. This animal is also known to play an important role to balance the ecological cycle of nature by killing rodents and helping to control an excess of their population. The fox was an important character in the Aesop Fables, 'The Fox and the Grapes'. The idiom, 'Sour Grapes' (used to denote a person who after facing loss, does not admit the intention to win!) was derived from this story.
The fox generally consumes around 1 kg of food every day. It usually lives 2-3 years but can survive for 10 or more years in captivity. The Fox is the smallest member of the dog family. The Female fox can give birth to 4-5 young ones once in a spring season. The fox is a solitary animal and usually hunts alone, rather than in packs like wolves or dogs, because it is so smart.
This little animal is of medium size, and the male fox weighs 4-8 kg and female fox weighs 4-6 kg. In many folklore, the fox is the symbol for a cunning or smart person; in others a vixen is the symbol for the lascivious woman. The territory of the groups, depending on the resources, varies between 100 and 600 hectares, usually with a ray of 7 km (4.2 mi). The normal gait of a fox is a slow trot. Foxes can be found up to altitudes of 2,500 m (8,330 ft).
The vertically slit eyes are on similar lines of the feline cats, besides, they also have retractable claws. The Red fox is the most commonly found species of foxes; it occurs in all the continents. Foxes generally prefer areas of higher latitudes. They can also adapt themselves well to an urban environment. This animal has been used successfully on fruit farms to control pests. Foxes help to get rid of rodents without really harming the fruits. Foxes that inhabit areas close to humans also feed on household wastes. Although foxes are similar in some ways to cats and dogs, they generally avoid contact with these animals.
Monogamous family is the rule for foxes, a rare case amongst mammals. They mate in January-February and gestation lasts 50-56 days. Females give birth to 3-12 cubs. Newborn have closed eyes and woolly dark gray hair. In two weeks the offspring open their eyes and can eat pre - digested meat, by the age of 5 weeks they go out of the den and play. They are independent at the age of 5 months. In 9 months they are sexually mature. These animals can live up to 12 years. A fox can tell the sex, hierarchical position, status and the location of another fox with the help of its smell. When two foxes meet, the lower status one lowers its ears and displays its abdomen (the vulnerable part) as a sign of submission. Foxes can emit up to 46 different calls. Their calls resemble a nasal dog bark. They hear sounds with frequencies between 700 to 3,000 Hz and have kin hearing (they hear the squeak of a mouse from a distance of 100 m or 330 ft). Their eyesight is weak and the fox hardly distinguish immobile objects.
A fox emits a heavy scent, given by glands located near anus, like in skunks. These mammals have very kin smell (they can keep the track of the prey for several kilometers). And remember as I said before, the Fox hunts alone, during the night, preferentially rabbits and rodents (mice, voles, ground squirrels), but also moles, song birds, ducks, quails, partridges, pheasants, eggs, insects (like locusts and beetles, including their larvae), earth worms, but they also eat fruit (in some cases and in some species up to 90 %), cadavers of big hoofed animals (or even their living offspring) and red kangaroos (in Australia), fish, frogs and crayfish in wet areas and garbage in urban areas. A sole fox can destroy in one year 5,000-6,000 rodents.
In fact, there are large fox populations in London, Paris, Hamburg, New York, Toronto, Amsterdam, Berlin and others, advantaged by the lack of predators and abundant food sources represented by human wastes, rodents and birds. The young of these urban foxes are prone to be victims of car accidents. Foxes can consume plant food, too, like raspberries, cranberries, (fallen) apples, pears, grapes. A fox needs 300-600 grams of food per day; a lactating female 700 grams. The animal travels about 12 km (8 mi) per night in search for food.
They decimate the populations of nesting birds (shear waters, ducks and so on). In US, following the extermination of the wolves and coyotes the number of the foxes boomed and the number of ducks plummeted. Still, foxes control rodent populations. When spotting a rodent or bird on the ground, the fox approaches slowly to a distance from which it jumps over the prey. Foxes are hunted by wolves, lynxes and eagles. Foxes use dens dug by badgers, marmots, rabbits, shell ducks and other foxes. They can cohabit with the badgers (but keeping the distance) and the comfortable den has many entrances for aeration and escape in case of danger. The fox dens use to be plagued by fleas and impregnated by the heavy smell of the anal glands.
The tail serves for balancing when making sudden movements. 48-77 races of red fox, depending on fur color and size. Foxes are sensitive to rabies. Male fox are 67-72 cm in length and females are 62-68 cm in length. Tail of male fox is 40-44 cm while female tail is 37-41 cm. Foxes are solitary animals that do not really prefer to live in packs. The fox belongs to the medium-sized canid group. This animal is found in almost every kind of habitat. They also show an ability to adapt to the presence of humans. The Fennec fox is the smallest fox seen amongst all the species. This tiny animal weighs a mere 3.5 pounds. Scientifically, foxes are known as Vulpes. Foxes use various sounds and pitches to communicate between each other.
Their high-pitched sounds are noticeable during the mating period in the months of December to January. As compared to wolves or jackals, foxes are smaller in size. They are characterized by their sharp muzzle and the rather bushy tail! The chest area and the underbelly generally have a shade of white or gray. The physical characteristics may vary as per the species of the fox. The Red fox has a reddish brown coat and the Arctic fox has very thick fur. This would simply mean, the characteristics would depend upon the habitat of the fox. Although foxes belong to the Canidae family along with dogs, they also display behavior patterns similar to cats.
Foxes have often been depicted in folklore as cunning creatures. Stories often suggest these animals also have magical powers. The female fox is called a vixen but in case of humans, a vixen is used to describe an attractive but cunning woman! Foxes have also been noticed in films playing a prominent part! Walt Disney production's film, 'The Fox and the Hound' was based on a novel by Daniel Pratt Mannix IV. The fox is considered to be an important and sacred figure in Mesopotamian mythology.
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