Biology and behavior

Red fox

The Silver Fox is a different colored version of the Red Fox, belongs to the family of the canidae and is considered to be Europe’s most successful predator. Thanks to its pronounced ability to adapt to various different climates, its habitat reaches from the Arctic Tundra to the desserts of Australia. In freedom, the Red Fox reaches the size of a cocker spaniel. On fur farms, one attempts to breed as large animals as possible.


The Red Fox occupies permanent territories. The size of the territory depends on the food and shelter available and can span areas from 0,1 km² in densely populated regions up to 30 km² in the Arctic. Within this territory, the fox does not have one sole den but several different dens that it changes constantly.


These clever predators live alone, except during the time when they bring up their young. They then sometimes live in small groups consisting of one grown male and three to four related vixens. As a rule, only the vixen highest in the hierarchical order will have cubs. The other vixens will then help her bring up the young. The male plays an important role in feeding and caring for the cubs. The hierarchical order has a major influence on group behavior and reproduction.


To give birth, the vixen will withdraw to a protected den where she will bear 4 to 6 cubs. In the following period, she will change dens frequently. After having been suckled for 8 weeks, the cubs will remain with the mother until they have reached 6 or 7 months of age. Then the male and some of the vixens will leave their territory, laying back stretches of up to 400 km.


Red Foxes have adopted highly developed and complex social behavior. Acoustic signals and markings in form of excrements as well as secretions from glands play an important role. Accordingly, Red Foxes have a particularly good sense of hearing as well as an excellent sense of smell.

Red Foxes avoid contact with human beings (with the exception of the town fox).


Flexible and clever

© Dani Morcillo /

Further information

Please find wonderful pictures and short video clips of Red Foxes in free nature here.


ARKive video - Red fox - overview