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Foxes

Fox Silhouette

Foxes are more of a nuisance pest. Complaints are made about the noise from their screaming and barking, digging in gardens and allotments, leaving of food and debris particularly in the area of breeding dens and interference with dustbins and rubbish bags.

Their faeces are particularly unwelcome on lawns, and recreation areas. They will take poultry and domestic pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. They have been known to take cats. Fairly recently there was a case of a fox entering a house and attacking a small child.

There is some evidence of the skin disease, mange, being passed from foxes to dogs. On the continent, foxes pass rabies to humans and other mammals. They are typically found in woodland and open country, but their presence in urban areas is increasing.

Red foxes are opportunist feeders and eat insects, earthworms, fruit, berries, wild birds, small mammals and scraps left by humans. Red foxes are primarily active at dusk and night. They are solitary, but they very occasionally group together in a pack.

Foxes forage alone in different parts of their territory, which may extend from 25 to 5,000 acres, depending on the habitat. Faeces and urine mark territories.

Reproduction

Vixens come into heat once a year for one to six days. They give birth to four to seven cubs in a den (also called an earth), after a gestation period of 51-53 days. The cubs are weaned after seven to nine weeks, and become sexually mature after a year. The number of cubs and the time of year in which the vixen gives birth depends on food availability.