Quick facts

Common names: fox, red fox

Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes

Family: Canidae

Habitat: woodland, farmland, upland, urban

Diet: rabbits, rodents, birds, invertebrates, fruit and berries

Predators: adults have no natural predators in the UK.

Origin: native

What do foxes look like?

Russet-red fur, pointed ears and a bushy tail make the fox unmistakable. Often smaller than people imagine, they typically weigh 5–8 kg and stand around 40cm at the shoulder.

Fox stalking

Credit: Age Fotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

What do foxes eat?

Foxes are opportunistic omnivores and this allows them to survive in a wide range of habitats. Rabbits and field voles are common prey, but a fox’s diet can include everything from worms and beetles to deer fawns and fruit. Urban foxes still hunt live prey, but will also take advantage of any food discarded by people. 

Fox in the grass

Blog

What do foxes eat? And more facts about foxes

Charlotte Varela  •  16 Aug 2019

Whether we live in the countryside or a bustling city, most of us have seen a fox. But how much do you know about one of our most iconic animals?  

Read the blog
Did you know?

Most foxes have a short life, with few living longer than three years.

How do foxes breed?

Foxes are social animals and live in loose family groups. These are normally made up of a breeding male, female and their young. Mating takes place in winter and this is when foxes are at their most vocal, barking and screeching loudly as they look to attract a mate and fend off rivals.

Come spring, the female will give birth to a litter of cubs in an underground den. Normally, four or five cubs will be born and they will be cared for by both the male and female.

By autumn, the cubs are fully self-sufficient. Some will leave to establish their own territories, while others may remain with the family group. Those that stay sometimes help their parents to raise the following year’s young.

Did you know?

Foxes have complicated relationships with badgers. Sometimes the two species will compete for food, but they have also been recorded living alongside each other in badger setts.

Fox cubs

Credit: Richard Becker / WTML

Where do foxes live?

Foxes are found throughout the UK and can survive in most habitats. The number of foxes in an area varies depending on the amount of food available. In urban areas, where food is often plentiful, a fox’s territory may be as small as 25 hectares. In upland Scotland, where food is much harder to come by, a territory could be as large as 4,000 hectares.

Signs and spotting tips

Foxes are present in most of our woods, but your best chance of seeing one may well be in a town or city. Urban foxes often become accustomed to humans, allowing you to get good views. Rural foxes tend to be much warier and are harder to see. Foxes are crepuscular, meaning they are most active around dawn and dusk, but it is not unusual to see them during the day, especially in urban areas.

Even if you don’t spot a fox on a woodland walk, you may see signs of their presence. Fox poo, known as scat, is often deposited on footpaths and prominent spots such as molehills and rocks. It is normally twisted and will contain remains of the fox’s food, such as fur and bones.

Did you know?

Foxes in Scotland are larger than those in the rest of the UK.

Threats and conservation

The UK’s fox population is thought to be stable, although large numbers are killed by cars, gamekeepers and farmers each year.