Photographer's Note

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a small canid native to much of North America and Eurasia, as well as northern Africa and pakistan. It is the most recognizable species of fox and in many areas it is referred to simply as "the fox". As its name suggests, its fur is predominantly reddish-brown, but there is a naturally occurring grey morph known as the “silver” fox; a strain of domesticated silver fox has been produced from these animals by systematic domestication.

The red fox is by far the most widespread and abundant species of fox, found in almost every single habitat in the Northern Hemisphere, from the coastal marshes of United States, to the alpine tundras of Tibetan Plateau. It was introduced into Australia in the 19th century.[2] It is capable of co-existing with more specialized species of foxes, such as Arctic fox, in the same habitat. The red fox can withstand and sometimes thrive in areas with heavy human disturbance. It is nowhere near extinction, and its amazing adaptiveness is driving many other less competent species into extinction.

The red fox is frequently featured in stories of many cultures, and is often portrayed as a sly animal.
Living as it does in a wide variety of habitats, the red fox displays a wide variety of behaviours. In Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids,[34] MacDonald and Sillero-Zubiri state that two populations of the red fox may be behaviourally as different as two species.

The red fox is primarily crepuscular with a tendency to becoming nocturnal in areas of great human interference (and artificial lighting); that is to say, it is most active at night and at twilight. It is generally a solitary hunter. If a fox catches more food than it can eat, it will bury the extra food (cache) to store it for later.

In general, each fox claims its own territory; it pairs up only in winter, foraging alone in the summer. Territories may be as large as 50 km² (19 square miles); ranges are much smaller (less than 12 km², 4.6 sq mi) in habitats with abundant food sources, however. Several dens are utilized within these territories; dens may be claimed from previous residents such as marmots, or dug anew. A larger main den is used for winter living, birthing and rearing of young; smaller dens are dispersed throughout the territory for emergency and food storage purposes. A series of tunnels often connects them with the main den. One fox may only need a square kilometre of land marked by recognition posts that are special smells that come from a scent gland located just above a fox's tail.

The scent from this gland is composed of or very closely related to the thiols and thioacetate derivatives used by skunks (most notably Mephitis mephitis) as a defensive weapon. This gives the red fox a skunklike scent detectable by humans at close proximity (about 2 to 3 meters or less) but which is not easily transferred to other animals or inanimate objects; so the concentrations secreted and/or produced by the gland must be very much less than that of the skunk. The red fox cannot spray the thiolates like the skunks and does not appear to use the secretion as a defense.

The red fox primarily forms monogamous pairs each winter, who cooperate to raise a litter of 4–6 kits (also called pups) each year. Young foxes disperse promptly on maturity (approx. 8–10 months).

Though usually monogamous, evidence for polygamy (polygyny and polyandry) exists, including males’ extraterritorial movements during breeding season (possibly searching for additional mates) and males’ home ranges overlapping two or more females’ home ranges. Such variability is thought to be linked to variation in the spatial availability of key resources such as food.[1]

The reason for this "group living" behaviour is not well understood; some researchers[who?] believe the non-breeders boost the survival rate of the litters while others[who?] believe there is no significant difference, and such arrangements are made spontaneously due to a resource surplus.

Socially, the fox communicates with body language and a variety of vocalizations. Its vocal range is quite large and its noises vary from a distinctive three-yip "lost call" to a shriek reminiscent of a human scream. It also communicates with scent, marking food and territorial boundary lines with urine and faeces.

John James Audubon noted that cross foxes tended to be shyer than their fully red counterparts. He conjectured that the reason was due to the greater commercial value its fur, thus forcing it to adopt a warier behaviour to evade hunters.[35]

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Zahoor Ahmed (zahoor_salmi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 59 W: 0 N: 171] (1053)
  • Genre: Persone
  • Medium: Colore
  • Date Taken: 2011-08-22
  • Categories: Natura
  • Camera: Canon 40D, 400mm F5.6L
  • Esposizione: f/5.6, 1/1000 secondi
  • Details: Tripod: Yes
  • Versione Foto: Versione Originale
  • Date Submitted: 2011-08-28 1:07
Viewed: 2075
Points: 0
  • None
Additional Photos by Zahoor Ahmed (zahoor_salmi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 59 W: 0 N: 171] (1053)
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