The fox: Predator with a social streak

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The fox is known as a master thief. Less common is that the small predator leads a social family life and can adapt flexibly to different living conditions.

Adult fox

With pricked ears, the fox locates the quietest sounds of its surroundings. His sense of smell is many times finer than that of man. His feline eyes are specialized in hunting in the dark

Some animals are like unpopular people: they are preceded by a dubious reputation. The Red Fox, the Central European representative of the foxes, is said to be a cunning and insidious loner. Reason for this is probably his hunting behavior: The little robber is mostly alone and also at night on the road and sometimes fetches themselves also farm animals such as chickens and geese. During hunting, his fine sensory organs help him to sense well-hidden prey. Slowly he stalks his victim softly to finally hit him with the so-called mouse jump from above. This is very similar to the hunting technique of the cat - and although the fox is closely related to the dog, is even counted by biologists to the same animal family. In contrast to dogs, however, foxes can partly feed their claws and their eyes still perceive movements even in the weakest light in the nocturnal forest.

Fox with partridge

The fox is omnivorous. On his menu are mice, partridges, rabbits, but also vegetarian foods such as blueberries or blackberries

Unlimited supper of the red robber are mice that he can capture all year round. But the wild animal is flexible: Depending on the food supply he eats rabbits, ducks or earthworms. For larger prey such as hare or partridge, he tears especially young and weakened old animals. He also does not stop at carrion or human waste. Fruits such as cherries, plums, blueberries and blueberries round out the menu, with sweets clearly preferred to sour.
If there is more food than the fox can eat, he likes to stock up on supplies. To do this, he digs a shallow hole, puts in the food and covers the soil and foliage above it, so that the hiding place is not recognizable at first glance. But the supplies are not enough for wintering.

The fox as a family animal

fox cub

Foxes do not hibernate or hibernate, they are even very active in the cold season, as the mating season falls on the months of January and February. The males then spend weeks following the females and have to take care of the few days during which they are fertile. By the way, foxes are often monogamous, so they mate with the same partner for a lifetime.
Females, also known as males, usually give birth to four to six offspring after more than 50 days of gestation. Because the mating season is limited to January and February, the date of birth usually falls on March and April. Initially, the puppies are completely blind and do not leave the protected building. After about 14 days, they open their eyes for the first time and after four weeks, their brown-gray fur turns pale red. On the menu is initially only breast milk, later come to various prey and fruits added. Even when raising the boys, they present themselves as a social family animal. Especially as long as the offspring is small, the father regularly provides fresh food and guards the construction. He is often supported by young females of last year's litter, who have not yet founded their own family and stayed with their parents. In the autumn of their first year of life, however, young males leave their parental ground to seek their own territory.

This is how foxes talk

Especially where foxes can live undisturbed, they form stable family groups. These break apart, however, where they are under the stress of human hunting. The high mortality then makes long-term bonds between two parent animals unlikely.

The communication between foxes is very varied: young animals whimper and whine miserably when they are hungry. On the other hand, they screech in a riff-raff. Adult animals, especially during the mating season, can hear hoarse, dog-like barking over long distances. In addition, growls and chittering sounds in arguments. As soon as danger lurks, the parents warn their boys with shrill, bright cries.
As a dwelling, the wild animal digs widely distributed Erdhöhlen with several escape routes. They resemble the roof structures and occasionally badgers and foxes inhabit large, old cave systems together, without getting in each other's way - so the keep is respected. As a nursery but not only earthquakes come into question. Crevices or cavities under tree roots or stacks of wood provide sufficient protection.

Fox in the garden

In search of prey or a shelter, foxes also like to come to cities.Here you will find enough food in the rubbish and shelter in parks or gardens

The adaptability of the red fox is particularly evident in the extent of its habitat: It is found almost everywhere in the northern hemisphere - from areas north of the Arctic Circle, across the Mediterranean, to tropical regions in Vietnam. In Australia it was abandoned about 150 years ago and has developed so much there that it has become a threat to various slow marsupials and is now being hunted intensely. In Central Europe the problem is less, because the predator is dealing with much faster prey. Aas and weakened sick animals make up a large part of its food. In this way, the fox insulates incidentally possible epidemic herd and honestly makes an effort to polish up his bad reputation.


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