Hi! My name is Todd! I was born April 4, 2016 and was adopted by the wonderful folks at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center when I was 5 weeks old. I cannot be in the wild because I was born in captivity, but I’m one of the lucky ones to be adopted and live in a wonderful place.
I am learning to be around people of all ages so I can go in the classroom and teach people about my species. Did you know there are many types of fox, but in our neck of woods, there are red fox like me and gray fox? You would think we only vary in color, but we actually are a different genus. I’m Vulpes vulpes, while gray fox are Urocyn cinereoargenteus. Believe it or not we are both dogs, but are not grouped in the Canidae family. Confused? It’s simple, fox have a separate evolutionary lineage which branched off from ancient canids millions of years ago. I can be identified by my white tipped tail and my long black legs and usually red coat. Gray fox have a black tipped tail, a median black strip on the top of the tail and salt and pepper coat.
I like to live in the forest and edge environments where two habitats meet. Some people call me the predator of the edge. My food consists of all kinds of rodents, birds, snakes and lots of berries! I am a scavenger and a hunter. Sometimes if I find a lot of food, I’ll cache the surplus food for future snacks. I like to be active when my prey are active and that can change based on the time of year, but I’m mostly known as nocturnal and crepuscular.
My tall, large ears provide excellent hearing. I can hear the low frequencies of gnawing and rustling of small mammals making their way through the forest floor. I triangulate these sounds by turning my head side to side then pounce on what I hear!
Most red fox litters have three to six kits. My mom, the vixen, takes care of us kits providing care, fun and food. As young kits, about 25 days old, we begin fighting for dominance among each other to establish a strict dominance hierarchy. It can get really nasty! The winner of the fights holds the dominant role and gets the larger portion of the food and has the best chance of surviving.
When we are about five weeks old, we venture out of the den more often and with the hierarchy established, most aggressiveness goes away and we just wrestle and play which teaches us hunting, fighting and food caching behaviors.
At about three and half months old, mom and dad beginning bringing less food to us and we start to catch and find some of our own food like grasshoppers and wild fruit. Gradually, we get better at hunting larger prey items like rodents.
As we get older and reach about 7 months, it’s time to leave the family territory and start our own. If food is plentiful, sisters may leave or may stay and help rear future litters.
At Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, I enjoy a balanced diet of dog food, fruit, veggies, eggs and meat. My outside enclosure has a sand box for digging, a small water pool for playing and cooling off, a hollow log to run through and plenty of space to stretch out. I have an indoor enclosure where I take naps and rest. I like to play with my caregivers and am learning good manners so I can go into the classroom.
When you meet me, you will think I’m a strikingly, beautiful creature and I can’t wait to teach you about me! I am the Red Fox and have the widest geographic distribution of any carnivore in the world!