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The red fox Vulpes vulpes has a wide distribution throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Red fox are common in Utah. They are found in open and semi-open habitats, although they occasionally occur in heavily forested areas, cities, and suburban settings.
The red fox is a member of the canid family, which includes wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs. Contrary to its name, the red fox is not always red, but can be any shade between red and black. The red fox can be distinguished from other fox species by the characteristic white tip on the end of the tail.
Foxes are opportunistic omnivores and skilled scavengers. They feed mostly on small mammals, insects, amphibians, fish, fruits, berries, nuts, eggs and carrion.
Red fox may be active any time, day or night, but are most active at dawn and dusk. Screeching yowls, barking, yipping and howling are common vocalizations. Fox also have a very strong musk odor.
The breeding season occurs from mid-January to early February. Red fox usually have a single annual litter of 4-5 kits. Fox kits, or pups, are born from March to May in dens dug in the ground or under rocks or structures. Red fox may dig their own dens or use abandoned burrows. They usually have one primary den for their young, called a natal den, which may be used year after year. The young begin to hunt with the adults at about 8-12 weeks old. They stay with their parents through the spring and summer months and disperse to find their own territories by the fall.
Utah Legal Status:
Red fox are classed as protected wildlife and classed as furbearers. However, they can be taken year-round with no license required.
Keep dogs leashed, especially when on trails and in open areas.
Never let your dog chase or “play” with foxes.
Cats should be kept indoors.
Use electric fencing to help keep fox away from pets and livestock.
If you have an encounter with an aggressive red fox, please alert the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources office near you. If the encounter occurs after hours or on a weekend, please call your local police department, who can call a conservation officer to handle the situation. Click here for more information.