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UK Nature > Mammals > Red Fox




Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes
Common Name: Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes, otherwise known as the Red Fox, is a common and familiar mammal, our only wild member of the dog family. It is omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, birds, frogs, earthworms and carrion, as well as berries and fruit. It is just as likely to be seen in towns and cities, as it is in the countryside; and it is now well-known for scavenging food scraps from bins, as well as catching feral pigeons and Brown rats. Males ('dogs') bark, but females ('vixens') make a spine-chilling scream, heard mostly in the winter when their courtship takes place. Red foxes live in a burrow system called an 'earth'. They scent-mark their territorial borders with urine, creating a very strong, recognisable odour. They also have scent glands on their feet to mark well-used trails so they can follow them easily at night.
A medium-sized dog, the red fox is orangey-red above, white below, with black tips to the ears, dark brown feet and a white tip to the bushy, orange tail (known as the 'brush').
Widespread throughout the UK, but absent from the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Scottish islands and the Isle of Man.

Note: the fox shown above appears to be suffering from sarcoptic mange (sarcoptes scabeii), which is the single most common infection in foxes.










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