- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Red Fox

Red Fox Facts

Size 14-20 inch (35-50 cm) (shoulder height)
Speed Up to 30 mph (50 km/h) (short distance)
Weight 4-22 lb (2-10 kg)
Lifespan 4-5 years
Food Wild animals, fruits
Predators Bears, eagles
Habitat Europa, Asia, America
Order Carnivore
Family Dogs
Scientific name Vulpes vulpes
Characteristics Long, bushy tail

Main Characteristics

Foxes are predators. They live in forests, grasslands, mountains, deserts or on the coast. The red fox is the most famous, but not the only type of fox. There are more than 40 species, for example the Arctic fox, the grey fox, the short-eared fox or bat-eared fox and the fennec. The fennec is in fact the smallest fox in the world yet has incredibly long ears!

Anatomy and Appearance

Are Foxes More Like Cats or Dogs?

Foxes are canines (belong to the dog species) but also resemble cats, which is characterized for example by being loners, by their slit shaped eyes or the typical “playing with the prey” behaviour.

The Foxtail

Foxes use their bushy tails not only to keep their balance while jumping or chasing, but also to warm themselves or even as a signal flag to communicate with conspecifics.

Red Fox Photo: Menno Schaefer/Shutterstock

Life Style

Are Foxes Solitary Animals?

Up until the 1970s, foxes were believed to be solitary animals. It is true that they are mostly alone when searching for food. But they live in small families. These consist of at least one male and one female. Often, the offspring are part of the family.


Foxes like to eat small vertebrates, particularly mice, as well as squirrels, hedgehogs and geese. Sometimes they even polish off fish, frogs or worms. However, they're not purely meat eaters. They also savour the marvels of fruit such as plums and raspberries. There are foxes that live in the city or on the outskirts. Although the city is dangerous to them (just think about cars), there is a big advantage: they don't have to walk far to get food. They plunder people's trash.


Fox vs. Hedgehog - Who Wins?

When a hedgehog curls himself up, he appears to be safe from any danger. From their own painful experience, dogs and cats can tell you a thing or two about scratched noses and paws. Our fox, however, has come up with a very cunning trick: He nudges the hedgehog very carefully with his paw, and rolls him into the nearest pond. The hedgehog is naturally not very fond of so much water. So, he uncurls himself and soaking wet, plods ashore - directly into the claws of the fox.

How Do Foxes Fool Crows?

Even crows and other scavengers fall into the trap of the proverbial sly fox: by pretending to be dead. The birds see a "dead" animal and briefly peck at it to see if it is still alive. But suddenly the fox "awakens" form his "rigor mortis" and then snaps at his prey within a split second. For a long time, it was not actually possible to observe this trick. It was then consequently dismissed as a popular folk belief. In the sixties, a wildlife photographer captured this moment on a photo subsequently turning this folk belief into a proven theory (Source:

Red Fox Photo: David Havel/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Earth's Magnetic Field

Yes that's true. Foxes use the Earth's magnetic field to accurately determine the distance and direction of their prey. They are not the only animals that have a "magnetic sense". Sharks and turtles have it, too. With migratory birds one speaks of a "magnetic compass".


A fox can run as fast as 30 mph (50 km/h) when chasing his prey. This is faster than permitted when travelling by car in town!

Red Fox Photo: Neil Burton/Shutterstock

The Red Fox Is Related To:

  • Arctic Fox
  • Bat-Eared Fox
  • Common Raccoon Dog
  • Fennec

Animals in the Same Biome:

Video: 13 Facts About Foxes

Red Fox Video

(Video opens on YouTube)


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