Be Aware › Foxes, Common Gray
Did I see a fox, wolf or coyote?
The common gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, is native to woodland and shrubland habitats of central and southern Utah. The range of the species also includes much of the rest of the United States and Mexico. Although the gray fox is similar to other fox species, it can be distinguished by the combination of a median black stripe down the length of the tail and a black tip on the tail.
The gray fox is an opportunistic omnivore, eating small mammals, insects, birds, fruits, and eggs. The species mates in late winter, with females producing a litter of three to five young about two months later, in April or May. Gray foxes are primarily nocturnal, but they can be active at all times of the day. Gray fox dens usually occur in small caves, hollows in logs or trees, beneath boulders, or in abandoned burrows of other animals. Interestingly, gray foxes often climb trees to avoid danger.1
Tracks are 1–1½ inches. Scat is small, rope-like and may contain hair or plant materials.
Do not try to feed, approach or chase foxes.
The best way to avoid conflicts with gray fox is to prevent issues from developing in the first place. Here are a few tips:
- Secure trash in a locked receptacle and put it out the morning of pick up.
- Remove attractants from your property, including pet food, water sources, bird feeders and fallen fruit.
- Trim vegetation around your yard to reduce hiding places.
- As a deterrent, install outdoor and motion sensitive lighting around your property. Lights also make approaching foxes visible.
- If a fox is on your property make it feel unwelcome: yell, bang pots and pans, spray it with a hose or turn on sprinklers.
- Supervise pets when they are outside, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Never leave pets outside after dark.
- 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 fox, please contact the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources office near you. If the encounter occurs after hours or on a weekend, contact your local police department, who can send a conservation officer to handle the situation.