ANIMAL FACTS - Foxes
Red Foxes were first introduced to Australia in the 1860s by English settlers for the terrible sport of fox hunting. They were also released to deal with another introduced species, the rabbit. Adapting very well to Australian conditions, the Red Fox is now found throughout the country with the population now in the millions!
Although a native of Britain, the Red Fox is also found throughout Canada, Alaska, America, Europe, Australia, North Africa and almost all of Asia including Japan. Red Foxes live in a wide range of habitats including forest, tundra, prairie, desert, farmland and suburban environments.
Foxes are omnivores, living on a diet of both plant and animal matter. Vegetation consumed includes grasses, grains, fungi, berries and fruit. Their carnivorous diet includes small mammals (native rats, possums, wallabies, bilbies, numbats, rabbits), birds, reptiles, eggs, fish, earthworms, insects and carrion. Urban dwelling foxes will also scavenge through human rubbish. A fox will eat about 1/2kg of food per day. Foxes have very small stomaches so any left over food is stored away for later, in a hole called a cache.
Foxes breed once a year. Both sexes mature in the first year (10-12 months). Females have a gestation period of around 53 days and kits (baby foxes) are born around August/September. Litters vary from 1-13 kits, with the average litter containing 5 kits. At birth the kits only weigh 50-150g. They are initally blind and open their eyes 9-14 days later. Kits venture out of the den when they are 4-5 weeks old and they are fully weaned by 8-10 weeks of age.
The Red Fox is a solitary hunter, hunting primarily at dusk, dawn and at night. Although mostly nocturnal, they will hunt through the day if it is necessary, especially in winter months. The ‘mouse leap’ is a hunting technique designed for catching rodents and small mammals. The prey is located through the fox’s sense of smell and hearing, then the fox launches itself through the air at its target pinning it down and immobilising it with a series of quick bites. All the carcass is eaten including bone and fur.
Our gorgeous little Kit has a narrow face and is slight of build.
She was found on a Gold Coast golf course where her den was dug up as renovations were taking place. An animal hospital took her in and tended to her until she was given a permanent place to live here at Australia Zoo in October 2000.
She often likes to sit on rocks and watch the world go by.
Roxy is the smaller of our two foxes and came to Australia Zoo in September 2001.
She came to us after a farmer called the Zoo and reported that his dog had dug up a den. When she first arrived, she received around-the-clock care and soon adopted the Zoo Crew as her human family.
Roxy is very shy and loves to hide behind one of the plants in her enclosure.