An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Red Foxes Scent Marking & Breeding

2-9-16  red fox marking 017Red foxes communicate in a number of ways, one of which is to scent mark with urine. During their breeding season, which is at its peak this month, male fox urine takes on a strong skunk-like odor, detectable by most human noses. These “sign posts” advertise the fox’s presence, its dominance and sexual status to all other red foxes that pass by.

Foxes leave scent marks along the boundary of their territory, as well as within it. Often you will find both urine and scat placed strategically on elevated objects, such as rocks, stumps and vegetation emerging from snow as well as at the intersection of two trails. Both male and female foxes leave scent marks. Researchers have found that when foxes are looking for food, they mark up to 70 times an hour. When just traveling and not hunting, they do not mark as frequently.

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6 responses

  1. Years ago, snowshoeing (illegally) through the Hanover Waterworks property, my dog and I heard a raven squawking in the hemlocks across a little frozen pond. She seemed more interested than I thought she’d normally be, so we stopped and waited. Pretty soon here came a vixen red fox, running like hell, with Reynard hot on her heels, yapping like crazy. The dog looked up at me: “What in the world…?”

    February 10, 2016 at 9:14 am

    • What a great sight/sound to see and hear! Wish I’d been with you, Will!

      February 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

  2. This morning my local fox decided that the newspaper on my driveway was the perfect thing to mark. Not sure how to report that to the subscription service…. wet paper?

    February 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

    • THAT would have made a great photo for today’s post!

      February 10, 2016 at 11:19 am

  3. Cheron barton

    Any evidence ?? Found??

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    February 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

  4. They love to leave their calling cards on our little footbridge over the stream, much to the great interest of our dog. 😉

    February 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm

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