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There are quite a few different species of fox found in the United States. Once upon a time, it would have been the gray fox that ruled the roost, but different factors have led it to be overtaken somewhat in numbers, by the red fox. Some areas still have this beautiful creature as the prominent species, and those are Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Alaska, and California — the Pacific States.
Out of all the fox species that you will find across the United States, the gray fox is the only one that climb trees with ease, and that has what has led to its drop in numbers. Deforestation and other human factors have stripped the species of the territories it would once have inhabited.
Usually found in highly wooded and rocky areas of North America, using trees to build dens as far as thirty feet up in the air. The species is considered to be a monogamous one — they mate for life. They can begin breeding at any point towards the end of winter / beginning of summer, with the earliest time being mid-February. Four babies are usually born at once, but this number can be as low as one, and as high as seven or eight. In litters with higher numbers, there is a very high chance that some of them will not make it for longer than a few weeks.
At about 3 months old, the gray fox will be ready to learn how to hunt with its parents, and at about eight months to a year old, most of the youngsters are ready to breed and start their own families.
Just like many fox species, the gray fox is an omnivore and will eat both animals and plant life. In the more eastern parts of the United States, the eastern cottontail rabbit is quite prolific, and will be the main bulk of the diet for a fox. It will eat other small mammals, however, and in some areas, the fox appears to have evolved into being just herbivorous, occasionally eating insects also.
This one is found only on California’s Channel Islands, and there are a few sub-species, four of which are actually protected as “endangered species”. The entire species was considered near-threatened in 2013 too. This is the smallest of all fox species found in North America, but it eats a similar diet to the gray fox — lizards, eggs, birds, crabs, fruits, insects, seeds, nuts, rodents, etc. Unlike other species, the Island fox prefers to spend its time alone, lives nocturnally, and is actually considered a relatively docile creature, despite initially often showing signs of aggression.
Found across central Mexico and the states found in the south-west of the USA, the kit fox is another relatively small fox species, and shouldn’t be confused with the swift fox. They are to separate species.
Spotted in west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California (SE), Utah, Nevada, Colorado (SW), and central Oregon, the kit fox has larger ears than some of the other species. Males are larger than their females, and they are mostly nocturnal creatures, although seeing them out and about during the day isn’t a cause for concern.
Most fox species have similar reproductive patterns, and all of these fox species are generally considered monogamous during breeding seasons, and rear their young together, with males and females out hunting for food, as well as taking care of their young and defending the den from predators.
Many foxes can reach 10-15 years of age in the best conditions, but these are rarely found ‘in the wild’, and it is generally considered the norm for foxes, and particularly the kit fox, to live to just four or five years of age.
The largest of all fox species, and one of the most commonly found foxes across North America, this poor creature has even been ranked as one of the “world’s 100 worst invasive species” after making it all around the world, even as far as Australia.
An incredibly adaptable creature, the diet and habitat are very similar to that of the other foxes we have mentioned, and it can change requirements slightly, depending on where they find themselves. They’ll just as happily eat garbage out of the can as they will a rodent caught in your back garden. It is believed that there are somewhere in the region of 45-50 different sub species of the red fox, a fox with quite short limbs and long body when compared to other species.
Read aboutHow to get rid of fox
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.
Animals in the attic - read about the common species.
Noises in the attic - how to identify critters by their sounds.
Here is some more fox removal information:
What are some ways to kill a fox in the yard?
Should I ever poison a fox? (the answer should be NO)
How to trap a fox
How to get foxes out from under a shed or porch
Do foxes make good pets?
How to keep foxes away from your property
Where do foxes live? Do more foxes live in urban areas, or wild areas?
Are foxes dangerous to humans?
What diseases do foxes carry and what are some symptoms of a sick fox?
Fox prevention tips
Is a fox that is active during the daytime sick or rabid?
Is a fox a danger to pets or farm animals?