Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. Of the three native species of North American foxes—red, grey and kit—the red fox is the largest. A fox's coat color and texture may vary due to the change in seasons; fox pelts are richer and denser in the colder months and lighter in the warmer months. To get rid of the dense winter coat, foxes molt once a year around April; the process begins from the feet, up the legs, and then along the back. Coat color may also change as the individual ages. Typically, they live in small family groups, but some (Arctic foxes) are known to be solitary.
If allowed to, red foxes will peacefully co-exist in urban and suburban areas along side of humans. Foxes have dens used primarily for raising their young and avoiding severe winter weather. They may dig their own dens or inhabit an abandoned burrow of another animal such as a badger or woodchuck. They may also den in a “manmade” cavity—under a deck or porch, etc
They are omnivorous or opportunistic feeders with adaptable diets—natural sources such as small rodents, berries and fruit can be supplemented with bird seed dropped from feeders, pet food left outdoors and garbage containers. If humans leave them available after dark, they may also eat very small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, kittens and chickens.
One litter of “kits” are born in the spring, generally March or April. Litter size is usually four to five kits, but may be as many as eight. Kits are raised by both the mother and father. They are weaned around four weeks but stay close to the den. Should the mother be gone they will be fed by the father and other group members such as kits from the previous year that have not moved on. At nine weeks they begin to hunt with their parents. Late summer of early fall the members of the current litter may disperse to set up their own territory, or stay with the family unit. Foxes do not hibernate.
Foxes are crepuscular and nocturnal, concentrating their activity to dawn, dusk, and nighttime. But, saying that, it is not inconceivable to see a fox roaming about during daylight hours. “If, for example, the fox has been chased away or excluded from its daytime den, or if the competition for food is high or food resources limited, they may come out during daylight hours.” (Answering the Call of the Wild, Toronto Wildlife Centre) Curious by nature a fox may hang around a residential area. If confronted, a healthy fox will run away if approached.
Foxes are not aggressive and prefer to flee. In the event they are being handled allot during a rescue, they may bite.
Foxes are included in the rabies vector species (RVS)
E. multilocularis tapeworm - can affect humans if transferred from a contaminated source. If a pet has contact with fox scat and then petted by a person it can be transferred. Also can be contracted through contaminated produce: berries, herbs, greens, wild mushrooms and through surface water. The most effective precaution is to wash all fruits and also wash hands with soap and water after contact with outdoor pets. Hand sanitizers are not effective.