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Common fox




Common fox
Latin name: vulpes vulpes
Family: Dogs

Ordinary, or red fox - a predatory mammal of the dog family, the most common and largest species of the genus foxes.

Appearance

The color and size of foxes vary from place to place; Total number of 40-50 subspecies, not including smaller forms. In general, when moving north, the foxes become larger and lighter, to the south they are smaller and more dull. In the northern regions and in the mountains, black-brown and other melanistic forms of fox coloration are also more common. The most common color: bright red back, white belly, dark paws. Often, foxes have brown bands on the ridge and shoulder blade, similar to the cross. Common distinctive features: dark ears and white tip of the tail. Outwardly, the fox is a medium-sized beast with an elegant trunk on low legs, with an extended muzzle, sharp ears and a long fluffy tail. Moulting begins in February-March and ends in the middle of summer. Immediately after that, the fox begins to grow winter fur, in which she completely worn to the turn of November and December. Summer fur is much rarer and shorter, winter fur is thicker and lush. Foxes are distinguished by large ear shells-locators, with which they catch sound vibrations. The ears for the fox are the "catcher" of the prey. The vocalization of the red fox is the same "woo-u" as the wolf's, only lower.

Common fox
Distribution

Fox common is widespread: throughout Europe, North Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, northern Tunisia), most of Asia (up to northern India, southern China and Indochina), in North America from the Arctic zone to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico . The fox was acclimatized in Australia and spread throughout the continent, with the exception of some northern regions with a humid subequatorial climate. Previously it was believed that in America there is a separate species of foxes, but recently it is considered a subspecies of the red fox.

Life

The individual site, which is occupied by a couple or a family of foxes, should provide them with not only a sufficient amount of feed, but also suitable for burrowing places. Foxes dig them themselves, or (which happens often) occupy empty holes of badgers, marmots, arctic foxes and other digging animals, adapting them to their needs. There are times when a fox lives in a hole at the same time as a badger, but in different ways. More often, foxes settle on the slopes of ravines and hills, choosing areas with sandy ground, protected from flooding with rain, ground and meltwater. Even if the burrow is dug on its own, not to mention badgers and others, it usually has several inlet holes that lead through more or less long tunnels into the nest chamber. Sometimes foxes use natural shelters - caves, crevices of rocks, hollows of thick trees. In most cases (but not always), housing is well covered with thickets. But it is unmasked by long trails, and near - large emissions of land near the entrances, numerous food remnants, excrement, etc. Often on the "small towns" foxes develops a luxuriant weed vegetation. As a rule, foxes use permanent shelters only during the upbringing of cubs, and throughout the rest of the year, particularly in winter, they rest in open lairs in snow or grass. But, fleeing from the pursuit, foxes at any time of the year can hide in any hole that exists in their habitats. Also, during the rearing of offspring animals often have to change their housing several times because of its parasite infestation.

Common fox
Food

The fox, although it belongs to the typical predators, feeds on very diverse feeds. Among the food that she consumes, more than 400 species of animals are identified, not counting a few dozen types of plants. Everywhere the basis of its nutrition is made up of small rodents, mostly volatile. One can even say that the sufficiency of their number and availability largely depends on the state of the population of this predator. This especially applies to the winter period when the fox lives primarily by hunting for field mice: the beast, having scented under the snow cover of the rodent, listens to his squeak, and then dives with quick jumps in the snow, or throws it with his paws, trying to catch the prey. This method of hunting was called the mouse-picking. Larger mammals, in particular hares, play a much smaller role in nutrition, although in some cases foxes catch them purposefully (especially when they borrow), and during the hare morrow they can eat corpses. Sometimes large foxes can attack the cubs of roe deer. Birds in the fox feed are not as important as rodents, although this predator will never miss the chance to catch a bird that has landed on the ground (from the smallest to the largest, for example, geese and wood grouses), and also to destroy the laying of eggs or flightless chicks. The fox can also kidnap poultry, but, according to observations of zoologists, it does it much less often than is commonly believed. In deserts and semi-deserts foxes often get reptiles. In Canada and northeastern Eurasia, foxes that live along large rivers seasonally feed on almost 100% salmon fish that died after spawning. Almost everywhere in the summer, foxes eat a lot of beetles and other insects. In the end, they are willing to use carrion to feed, especially in hungry periods. Vegetable fodders - fruits, fruits, berries, less often vegetative parts of plants - are included in the diet of foxes almost everywhere, but most of all in the south of the range; However, nowhere do they play a key role in feeding the representatives of this species.

Common fox
Reproduction

Like the wolf, the fox belongs to monogamous animals, which multiply only once a year. Time and efficiency depend on the weather and fatness of animals. There are years when up to 60% of females remain without offspring. In the winter, foxes begin to search for places to bring young animals, and jealously guard them. Orphanous holes at this time is almost never, in the case of the death of one female, her home is immediately occupied by another. The female is often cared for two or three males, between them there are bloody fights. Foxes are good parents. Males take an active part in the upbringing of the offspring, and also take care of the girlfriends even before the appearance of the fox. They beautify burrows, even catch fleas from females. In the case of the death of his father, his place is occupied by another idle male, sometimes foxes even fight among themselves for the right to become a stepfather. Pregnancy in foxes lasts 49-58 days. In the brood there are from 4-6 to 12-13 puppies, covered with dark-brown wool. Outwardly they resemble wolves, but differ in the white tip of the tail. At the age of two weeks, the foxes begin to see and hear, their first teeth are cut. In the education of the foxes, both parents take part. The father and mother are very cautious at this time, and in the event of a threat, they will immediately take the cubs to the reserve hole. They also have to hunt around the clock to feed their offspring. Growing puppies early start to leave from the "home" and often meet far from him, being still very young. For a month and a half the mother feeds the foxes with milk; In addition, parents gradually accustom the cubs to regular food, as well as to obtain it. Soon grown-up foxes begin to go with their father and mother to hunt, playing among themselves, pestering the elders, sometimes endangering the whole family. From the time of the rut until the final exit, the lice from the burrow pass about 6 months. By autumn the foxes are fully grown and can live on their own. Males go to 20-40 kilometers, females - to 10-15, rarely to 30 kilometers, look for a site and a pair. Some females begin to reproduce from the next year, at least, reach sexual maturity at the age of two. The fox has a weight of 5-8 kg.

Behavior
Common fox

The fox, moving calmly, walks in a straight line, leaving behind a clear chain of tracks. A frightened animal can run very quickly, galloping or literally sprawling above the ground, stretching its tail completely. Of the senses the foxes have the most developed sense of smell and hearing; Vision is much less developed - therefore, for example, a fox can very closely approach a person sitting or standing on a windy side. During the rut and just in a state of excitement, the fox makes a jerky, loud barking; Foxes, when they fight, shriek shrilly. According to the voice, the female and male differ: the female makes a triple "run", ending with a short howl, the male barks in the manner of a dog, without howling. Many foxes, especially young ones, lay down for a day in the field, if it is located near the forest and is rich in rodents. Before settling under a bush or a hillock, the fox, frozen in place, for a long time examines the surroundings for danger. Then he curls up, covering his nose and paws with his tail, but before he goes to sleep, he looks around the district several times. Also, foxes like to rest in dense thickets, ravines and other hard-to-reach places. Hunted foxes at different times of the day, preferring, however, early morning and late evening, and where they are not pursued, meet in the afternoon, and without revealing anxiety when meeting a man. Otherwise, these animals are extremely cautious and have an amazing ability to hide and chase a chase - that is why in the folklore of many peoples the fox is the embodiment of cunning and dexterity (the Japanese spirit is the werewolf Kitsune, the European one is Verfuks). Foxes living near hiking trails, boarding houses, in places where hunting is prohibited, quickly get used to the presence of a person, easily succumb to feeding and can beg. It is assumed that foxes have a sense of a magnetic field.

Common fox



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