Red Fox Encounter

A Red Fox family has set up shop in a den by the side of a wildlife drive road at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. I was lucky enough to encounter the foxes on a late afternoon when no other people were nearby. During my 15 minutes with them, I saw the mother (shown below) and father. He was much darker, almost black. (Red Foxes can vary dramatically in color). While he ranged a bit farther away, the mother kept a close eye on at least two kits. One of the kits spent some time relaxing and digging at the burrow entrance. 

The den was burrowed underneath a large tree that had been partially blown over in a storm.

To my delight, one of the kits walked out on the sandy wildlife drive and allowed mother fox to groom it thoroughly. 

Seconds after I took this photo, the mother leapt into a roadside ditch, caught a rabbit, reappeared with the rabbit in her jaws, trotted to the den and dropped it for her offspring to eat.

Red Fox Facts

A male fox, also called a “dog” weighs 10-12 pounds on average, while the female fox, also known as a “vixen,” weighs 9-10 pounds.

A male measures 54”-78” long, and a female measures 56”-74” long. Male foxes tend to have a longer snout as well.

Red Foxes mate in the winter and the female fox gives birth to a litter of 2-12 “kits” in the spring.

Both the male and female fox care for the kits until they are ready to leave in the fall.

Kits sometimes stay with their parents to help raise the next litter of young.

The average red fox lifespan in the wild is 2-4 years.

Photos by Rick Marsi

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