Red fox

©Jon Hawkins

Red fox cub

©Jon Hawkins

Red Fox

Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes
The Red Fox is an iconic species in the UK, immortalised in stories and legend for its cunning and stealth. This orangey-red dog, with its famously bushy tail, can be seen in town and country, day and night.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 62-72cm
Tail: 40cm
Weight: 5-7kg
Average lifespan: 2-3 years

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

A common and familiar mammal, the Red Fox is our only wild member of the dog family. It is omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, birds, frogs, earthworms and carrion, as well as berries and fruit. It is just as likely to be seen in towns and cities, as it is in the countryside; and it is now well-known for scavenging food scraps from bins, as well as catching Feral Pigeons and Brown Rats. Males ('dogs') bark, but females ('vixens') make a spine-chilling scream, heard mostly in the winter when their courtship takes place.

How to identify

A medium-sized dog, the Red Fox is orangey-red above, white below, with black tips to the ears, dark brown feet and a white tip to the bushy, orange tail (known as the 'brush').

Distribution

Widespread, but absent from the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Scottish islands and the Isle of Man.

Did you know?

Red Foxes live in a burrow system called an 'earth'. They scent-mark their territorial borders with urine, creating a very strong, recognisable odour. They also have scent glands on their feet to mark well-used trails so they can follow them easily at night.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts. If you want to encourage a friendly fox into your garden, try putting out a meal of dog food.