11 Fox Facts: Facts About Fox Species All Animal Lovers Should Know

11 Fantastic Fox Facts For True Fanatics

June 7, 2021 Updated June 9, 2021

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Foxes have quickly become quite the animal du jour in pop culture. These days, they’re right up there with mythical unicorns, majestic and rare narwhals, and even llamas. (We boast an impressive collection of coloring pages for each of those animals, by the way!) Foxes adorn everything from super clothes for adults to woodsy onesies for babes. You can get fox-eared berets and even fox-faced purses. These adorable cat-like woodland creatures are just too cute to ignore. There’s even a whole section of TikTok, which we’ll call “FoxTok,” full of videos of both wild and semi-domesticated foxes. From their shocking orange-red fur to the ear-catching chattering, foxes are just plain hard to ignore.

But, how much do you really know about them? While fox caricatures can be found on nearly every customizable merch in America, the actual animal is pretty elusive. They call tricksters “sly as a fox” for a reason, after all. Foxes live on nearly every continent globally, but all fox species are different — and excellent at hiding. Before you profess your love for foxes, perhaps you should acquire a bit more information about the animal. Lucky for you, we were curious about them, too.

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Fascinating Fox Facts

Where do foxes live? 

Nearly all fox species live in dens that they dug out of the Earth. Living underground best protects them from natural predators, like coyotes or wolves. Even bears enjoy snacking on foxes, so it’s vital they stay hidden. A fox family typically lives in the same den throughout a mama fox’s pregnancy and while the babies are still tiny. The father fox will hunt for the whole family, typically at dusk or night.

How do foxes communicate? 

Have you ever seen of video of a fox chatting happily (or sassily) with its human friend? Foxes have a pretty significant “vocabulary.” They use around 40 different sounds to communicate their needs, concerns, and moods.

Are foxes similar to dogs? 

While foxes might be most closely related to dogs or coyotes, they’re much more like cats. For instance, foxes are almost entirely solitary, like a cat. While a family of foxes is called a “skulk,” you’re still much more likely to see a lone fox hunting than an entire group, like you would with canines. Some foxes, like the grey fox, can even retract their claws like cats. Perhaps their most cat-like trait, though, are their vertical pupils, which help them see better at night when they hunt.

Do foxes have whiskers?

Another way foxes are like cats? They have whiskers, and not just on their faces! Foxes also have whiskers on their tails that help them with directions.

Foxes Are Great Parents

Mama foxes give birth to litters that can range anywhere from one to eleven fox pups at a time. Once the babies are born, the mama fox keeps them close in the den for a little more than half a year before she lets them venture out. The fox might be the ultimate “helicopter mom.”

What are the different fox species?

 You might have noticed that foxes don’t all look very similar at all. Just like dogs, foxes come in many different breeds or species and even sub-species. There are twelve species of “true foxes,” including the red fox, which further breaks down into almost 50 “sub-species.” A few dozen species of animals are sometimes referred to as foxes, but not always. Are you confused yet? Us, too! Foxes live on every continent but Antarctica. When you’re working with that many cultures and languages, it’s easy to see some confusion.

What are the two popular fox species?

The two most popular foxes you’ll often see planted on consumer goods are the Arctic and common red fox. Arctic foxes are usually portrayed as white, but their fur changes colors depending on the season. This trait helps them blend in and hunt better. The red fox is the most common, but there is a ton of variety even among that species. For instance, some red foxes have white-tipped tails while others have black-tipped tails. Those are two different sub-species.

Foxes Were “Popular” Way Before Target or Etsy Existed

By “popular,” we don’t necessarily mean “well-liked” so much as “often talked about.” Mention of foxes is common in most folklore from all over the planet and transcending any one culture. Of course, not all those folklores consist of friendly fox stories. 

What are some fox terms and synonyms? 

Do you know what to call various foxes? Male foxes, for instance, are called dog foxes, and fox babies are called pups. Our favorite term, however, is for a female fox. She’s called a “vixen.”

Foxes Have Excellent Hearing 

See a fox in your yard? Don’t even waste your time attempting to sneak upon him. Red foxes can reportedly hear a watch ticking from 40 miles away. Your footsteps won’t go unnoticed.

They’re Stinky, Though

Sure, the fox has a gorgeous autumnal look to it. But it certainly doesn’t smell good. Foxes have scent glands at the base of the tail that gives off a musky smell. They not only use their scent to find mates but also to mark their territory. (Again! They’re like cats!) It’s a lot safer to leave a stink on a tree than to have to fight for your land.