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Red Fox Vixens Cleaning Out Dens

2-14-18 red fox den 049A2731You may have heard or seen Red Foxes barking in the past few weeks – a sign that their mating season has begun. The skunk-like odor of fox urine at this time of year (particularly the males’) indicates where they have marked their territory. Most of the year Red Foxes are solitary animals, but in January and February it’s common to find the tracks of a pair travelling together.

Vixens (female Red Foxes) are already scouting out this year’s den site. They often clean out several dens on their territory, one of which they choose for their litter. The typical fox den is on a hillside in sandy or soft soil, often in a forest but close to an open area. They may dig their den, or modify the burrow of another animal. Usually there is a source of water within 300 feet or so of the den. There are several entrances, the largest being about ten inches in diameter. The same den may be used for many years, and eventually taken over by a daughter upon her mother’s death.

Finding a fox den is easiest now, when the excavated dirt is obvious on the snow, and tracks leading to and from it are visible. In roughly two months there may be anywhere from one to ten (usually four or five) kits being raised inside the den.

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7 responses

  1. Thanks for the Fox comments. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

    February 14, 2018 at 9:24 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Those Kits must be so adorable!

    February 14, 2018 at 9:25 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    Mary: Happy ❤️ Day to you and Greta!

    February 14, 2018 at 9:40 am

  4. A Red Fox has a short life span of 3 to 4 years on average, so the den will be used by the Vixen for maybe 4 years, 5 if she is lucky. Then her off spring can use it. People don’t realize how short their life span is. They keep rodent population down in urban areas which people need to realize this and instead of fearing foxes learn to live side by side with them and respect their space. Don’t feed them.

    February 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

  5. Mary Mathias

    Thank you for info about the Red Fox Vixen. We have Grey Foxes here in West Brattleboro – how much do their habits differ from those of the Red?

    February 14, 2018 at 9:57 am

  6. Bill On The Hill...

    Great article on the red fox Mary… Out here in the highlands of Corinth I see them on a reg. basis… They seem to employ the same field mouse tactics as the coyote when hunting them… I observed what I believe was a male about a week past now which had a luxurious coat of fur & a long bushy tail to die for!
    He walked straight up my field in my direction & then veered right approx. 50 ft. parallel to my porch, crossed over the driveway & up into a spruce stand and then out of sight. The entire episode lasted about 45 seconds, didn’t have the time to grab the camera, attach the 400 mm, set it all up, etc., so I just enjoyed the short lived visual encounter…
    Bill Farr… 🙂

    February 16, 2018 at 8:40 am

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