By: Molly Bobick February 12, 2018
The red fox is an amazing resourceful animal that can be found in many different habitats around the world. They can be found living in forests, deserts, grasslands, mountains, and even suburban neighborhoods. The red fox species Red foxes have amazing hunting skills, but they also have predators. Just like all other animals, they learn how to survive in the wild. Did you know that the fox’s reputation in fairy tales is somewhat accurate? Red foxes are described in fairy tales as sly, and manipulative because red foxes are extremely intelligent in real life. They can almost always escape predators, and they use their unique skill set to catch prey. The red fox will skillfully use their ears, their patience, and their environment to survive in the wild.
One of the red fox survival tools is it’s ears. A red fox can hear low-frequency sounds shockingly well. Low-frequency is the rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material, or in an electromagnetic field. When the fox hears its prey, it uses earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint its prey’s location. Then it “mouse jumps”, which is a delicate movement that cannot be detected by its prey. Other animals have the ability to use earth’s magnetic field to hunt too, but they can only sense the direction, or movement of an animal. However, a red fox can sense the exact location of its prey. This is important because once the fox attacks its prey, the red fox reveals its location to its prey, so the fox’s mouse jump has to be as accurate as possible.
Another of the red foxes survival skills is it’s patience. Some people might not think that patience is a survival skill, but it is. Patience is an important survival skill, because if you don’t have patience you will never catch prey. In other words, stalking prey takes patience, you have to pounce at just the right time. As I am saying this, I am realizing that red foxes hunt like cats. If you have ever watched a cat, ordinary, or wild, hunt, you know that they are extremely patient. They can sit in a still position without moving for a long time.
Next, the red fox uses its environment to escape predators. Some of the red fox’s predators are eagles, coyotes, gray wolves, mountain lions, and humans. You may be thinking Humans? Why do humans hunt foxes? Humans don’t even eat foxes. Well, some people see red foxes as pests because they kill livestock. People hunt foxes in an activity called a fox hunt. This game originated in England in the sixteenth century. This hunt is led by foxhounds and people on horseback. The goal is to track, chase and kill a red fox. However, a red fox is known for its skills in evading predators. The fox can run at a top speed of about 10 kilometers (6 miles) per hour, definitely slower than some of its predators, but when chasing a fox, speed isn’t everything. While some animals, even other types of foxes, such as the gray fox, would climb a tree for safety the red fox will lead its enemies through an obstacle course. It may be a climb over a manure pile, swim through a river, or even make a mad dash across a freeway. That is why a fox hunt was so popular and exciting. Now, in most places fox hunts are illegal. Sadly, it is still legal in Northern Ireland. Surprisingly, people hunt foxes so they can keep them as pets, like how dogs became domestic or when people tamed wolves.
Lastly, the red fox can use its environment to survive by using camouflage. For example, a red fox can blend in with a grassland environment, so it doesn’t have to worry about being seen by the rabbit that it is stalking. One more cool fact is, red foxes don’t all have the same reddish-orange fur. Most do, but they can also have silver, or black fur. Sometimes, a red fox even has a pattern on their back. These rare foxes are called cross-foxes.
Clearly, the red foxes have amazing survival skills. A red fox expertly uses its ears, patience, and environment to survive in the wild. Next time you see a red fox, think about how hard it works to survive in the wild.