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A Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
A Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
A fox is a member of any of 27 species of small omnivorous canids. The animal most commonly called a fox in the Western world is the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), although different species of foxes can be found on almost every continent. The presence of foxes all over the globe has led to their appearance in the popular culture and folklore of many nations, tribes, and other cultural groups.Fox terminology is different from that used for most canids. Male foxes are known as dogs, tods or reynard, females are referred to as vixens, and their young are called kits or cubs, as well as pups. A group of foxes is a skulk.

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Contents

General characteristics
Classification
Vocalisation
Ecobalance
Cultural connotations
Famous Fictional Foxes



General characteristics - Contents

With most species roughly the size of a domestic cat, foxes are smaller than other members of the family Canidae, such as wolves, jackals, and domestic dogs. Recognizable characteristics also include pointed muzzles and bushy tails. Other physical characteristics vary according to their habitat. For example, the Desert Fox has large ears and short fur, whereas the Arctic Fox has small ears and thick, insulating fur.Unlike many canids, foxes are not pack animals. They are solitary, opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey (especially rodents). Using a pouncing technique practiced from an early age, they are usually able to kill their prey quickly. Foxes also gather a wide variety of other foods ranging from grasshoppers to fruit and berries.


Classification - Contents

Red Fox
Red Fox
Desert Kit Fox
Desert Kit Fox
Black Fox
Black Fox
Foxes include members of the following genera:
  • Alopex ( Arctic Fox)
  • Cerdocyon ( Crab-eating Fox)
  • Dusicyon ( Falkland Island Fox)
  • Fennecus ( Fennec, or Desert Fox)
  • Lycalopex ( Hoary Fox)
  • Otocyon (Bat-eared Fox)
  • Pseudalopex (four South American species, including the Culpeo)
  • Urocyon ( Gray Fox and Island Fox)
  • Vulpes (the ten species of "true" foxes, including the Red Fox (vulpes vulpes)



Vocalisation - Contents

Foxes do not come together in chorus like wolves or coyotes do. Fox families, however, keep in contact with a wide array of different sounds. These sounds grade into one another and span five octaves; each fox has its own characteristically individual voice. Fox noises can be divided, with a few exceptions, into two different groups: contact sounds and interaction sounds. The former is used by foxes communicating over long distances, the latter in close quarters.
"Wow-wow-wow"
The most well-known vulpine noise is a sort of barking that spans three to five syllables. "Conversations" made up of these noises often occur between widely spaced foxes. As their distance decreases, the sound becomes quieter. A cub is greeted with the quietest version of this sound.
The alarm bark
This monosyllabic sound is made by an adult to warn cubs of danger. From far away it sounds like a sharp bark, but at closer range it resembles a muffled cough, like a football rattle or a stick along a picket fence.
Gekkering
This is a stuttering, throaty noise made at aggressive encounters. It is most frequently heard in the courting season, or when kits are at play.
The vixen's wail
This is a long, drawn-out, monosyllabic, and rather eerie wail most commonly made during the breeding season; it is widely thought that it is made by a vixen in heat summoning dog-foxes. Contrary to common belief, however, it is also made by the males, evidently serving some other purpose as well. This noise fits into neither the contact nor the interaction group.



Ecobalance - Contents

In some countries, such as Australia, with no strong competitors, imported foxes quickly devastate native wildlife and become a serious invasive pest. On the other hand, many fox species are endangered.Foxes can be used for helpful environmental purposes as well. They have been successfully employed to control pests on fruit farms, leaving the fruit intact. [1]Historians believe foxes were being imported into non-native environments long before the colonial era. The first example of the introduction of the fox into a new habitat by humans seems to be Neolithic Cyprus. Stone carvings representing foxes have been found in the early settlement of Göbekli Tepe in eastern Turkey.


Cultural connotations - Contents

In many cultures, the fox is a familiar animal of folklore, a symbol of cunning and trickery. Some well-known stories involving foxes are found in Aesop's fables; another is the medieval story of Reynard. In The Little Prince, a fox indicates the true value of things like friendship.In Chinese folklore, fox spirits lure men away from their wives. The Chinese word for fox spirit is synonymous with the mistress in an extramarital affair.In Japanese folklore, the fox-like kitsune is a powerful animal spirit ( Yōkai) that is highly mischievous and cunning.The words "fox" or "foxy" have become synonymous slang in Western society for an individual (most often female) with sex appeal.The fox is an especially popular animal in the furry fandom.


Famous Fictional Foxes - Contents

  • Miles "Tails" Prower, from Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Fox McCloud from the Star Fox series of video games
  • Tod in The Fox and the Hound
  • Basil Brush, British television personality
  • Fox and his mate Vixen led The Animals of Farthing Wood
  • Kyuubi, a nine-tailed fox from the anime and manga Naruto.
  • Kurama, character from the anime Yu Yu Hakusho
  • Fuse the Fusion Radio fox
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