SMBO 2015 – 19

Welcome to your nineteenth edition of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. Mike posted an adorable video of some cute red fox kits. It features them around their den, practicing fighting and playing with siblings. It’s fun to watch and will add a smile to your day. You can view the video here: Red Fox Kits Video.kit6

Red foxes can be found around the world, including North America and through Eurasia. They inhabit a diverse range of habitats that may include forests, grasslands, mountains and deserts. Over the last century they have also adapted well to the expanding human environments which includes farms, suburban areas and sometimes even large communities.kit8

Red foxes typically have the expected red coat with a thick tail. Their coat coloring can have some variation though, red, golden, reddish-brown, silver, grey, brown and even black can be seen on occasion. The red fox can range from 18 to 33 inches long with a 12 inch tail and can weigh anywhere from 6.5 to 24 pounds. Red foxes are generally seen as the largest breed of fox.

This mammal is an omnivore. They are solitary hunters that are known for their resourcefulness, intelligence and cunning. They also have incredible hearing, being able to hear low frequencies that are difficult for many mammals to hear. Small rodents and birds are the kit11foxes main meal choice, but their diet can be flexible to include fruits and vegetables, fish, frogs and in some cases even worms. It has been recently discovered that this fox uses the Earth’s magnetic field to aid it’s hunting. Studies have shown that when hunting a mouse, the foxes odds increase to a 75% of catching it when the predator is facing North. The fox uses the invisible magnetic field to triangulate and home in on the animal. It can be successful in this when the mouse is under three feet of snow 18 feet away.

These solitary creatures meet in the winter to mate. The female called a vixen will typically give birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. They are born in a den that the parents have either prepared themselves or have found on that already exists. This is a den surrounded by a packed dirt mound. As the pups (kits) grow, they are energetic and restless. They are extremely playful and will interact with each other by touching nuzzling, wrestling, nipping and exploring their world. kit10When the kits get to be too rambunctious within their den the adults will spread them out among several dens. These dens are all close together, within several hundred yards. This allows the parents to visit and feed their young, and it also allows the siblings to visit each other. Both parents will care for their young through the summer, until they learn to hunt for themselves and strike out on their own in the fall. The kits reach “adulthood” between 8 and 9 months, making it possible for a vixen to have her first litter by one year.

In the wild the average life span of a red fox is typically between two and four years. The main sources of danger for these animals are roadways, humans and large predators. Their predators include, eagles, coyotes and wolves. kit1However, in captivity this fox has lived up to 15 years.

No one can resist babies and Mike’s photos and footage make it even more difficult. Be sure to check out the adorable video some red fox kits playing about. The link is above. Just a quick reminder that there will be some exciting changes and updates coming to the website so keep your eyes open.

Be sure to check out the Red Fox Gallery!