Red foxes are the largest of the species (2.5-6.5 kg) in Canada and may be reddish with a "cross" on the back or, rarely, black or may have silver-tipped hairs. Feet and ear tips are black; tail tip, white. Common in farming and wooded areas, they extend from the US border to the TUNDRA in all provinces, but are absent from coastal British Columbia.
They eat rodents, INSECTS, FROGS, seeds, fruit, eggs and some poultry. They breed in January and February; usually 4-5 cubs (range 1-10) are born 52-54 days later in a den of earth. Both parents feed them. Cubs become independent at about 6 months and breed in their second year.
Grey foxes, similar in food habits and size to red foxes, are slimmer, with slightly rounded ears, a black back stripe and speckled grey sides. Undersides are off-white; neck, back of ears and legs are yellowish buff. They are found in southernmost Manitoba, Ontario and Québec.
They prefer wooded or broken country and live in hollow logs or overhangs. Grey foxes often climb trees, enjoy sunning themselves and are not strictly nocturnal. Mating is in February to March with litters averaging 4 cubs (range 1-7), born about 63 days later. Young become independent in autumn and breed the following season.
The swift fox is the smallest Canadian fox. It occurred from southern Alberta to southwestern Manitoba but was considered extirpated from Canada by 1970. Individuals selected from a captive population, bred from animals obtained from Colorado in 1972, have been released since 1983 in the short-grass prairie of southeastern Alberta, near Manyberries and Medicine Hat, and in southwestern Saskatchewan. Some successful breeding in the wild is recorded. Its habits are essentially the same as those of red foxes.
See also FUR FARMING.
Author C.S. CHURCHER
Links to Other Sites
See a description of the natural history and typical habitat of the arctic fox in Canada. From the "Hinterland Who's Who" website. Also covers related conservation and biodiversity issues and includes related multimedia and educational resources.
See an illustrated description of the natural history and habitat of the red fox in Canada. From the "Hinterland Who's Who" website. Also includes video clips, summaries of related conservation issues, and educational resources.
Natural History Notebooks
View illustrated descriptions of a huge variety of Canadian animal species, prehistoric creatures, and endangered/extinct animals. A Canadian Museum of Nature website.
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
The Arctic Portal is the Internet gateway for numerous international programs about environmental and economic issues in the Arctic.
Return of the Swift Fox
View a film that documents the impact of human activity on the fragile prairie grasslands ecosystem in Alberta and Saskatchewan. From the National Film Board.
View an online collection of Paul Nicklen's outstanding nature photographs. Click on each image to access photos of seals, polar bears, whales, walruses, Arctic landscapes, and much more. Note: requires Flash Player.
An information page about the natural history and typical habitat of the swift fox in Canada. From the "Hinterland Who's Who" website. Also includes video clips, summaries of related conservation issues, and educational resources.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...