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Positive coverage for fox in newspaper
03 August 2007

An Irish newspaper aimed at promoting nature has given foxes the positive coverage they deserve! Refreshingly free from the usual misinformation, the article published in Sherkin Comment dispels myths and portrays the fox as one of our most fascinating wild mammals.

The article, which can also be viewed on the ENFO website (Click on Wildlife and scroll down to Information Leaflets) provides lots of information about the fox and its behavior as well as tips on how to identify fox tracks and calls.

Among the fox facts presented for readers are:

  • After humans, foxes are one of the most widespread of animals on earth.

  • In urban areas foxes live at higher densities than in the countryside. This is probably due to urban foxes having a more regular source of food… thanks to us!

  • A home range is typically occupied by breeding male, a breeding female and their cubs. Often a second non-breeding female (the offspring of a previous year) will remain in the territory and help to rear the cubs.

  • A female fox, a vixen, is pregnant for 53 days and has a single litter per year. Cubs are born in March/April and the average litter is of 4-6 cubs. The tiny fox cubs only weigh 50-150 grams at birth and are not able to open their eyes till they are at least 9- 14 days old. At 4-5 weeks of age they are finally able to leave the den but still need their mother to look after them until they are weaned at 8-10 weeks.

  • Sometimes the fox gets a bad name from farmers who blame them for killing lambs and poultry. Foxes in fact rarely prey on lamb and it makes up a very small part of their diet. Where lamb or sheep is taken it is most often scavenged from animals that have already died from other causes.

  • Foxes have five toes on their front paws but only four on their hind paws

  • Like all other mammals, foxes leave their distinctive smell everywhere they go. Usually this is to mark out their territory for other foxes. The smell includes information as to whether the fox is male or female, and how old and healthy or strong it is.

  • Foxes have up to 20 different calls, 8 of which are just used by cubs.

A red fox
The red fox: one of Ireland's favourite and most fascinating wild mammals.

More information

Please also visit the websites of Sherkin Comment and Enfo for more information about nature in Ireland

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