Henry County Animal Care & Control
Wild Animals: Gray Fox / Red Fox
Members of the dog family, Canidae, foxes are found throughout Georgia, in both rural and urban landscapes. There are two species of fox in Georgia, the gray fox and the red fox.
Gray foxes are “salt and pepper” gray with patches of reddish fur on the neck, flanks, legs and underside of the tail. They typically weigh between 8 and 12 pounds are 34-40 inches long. A black stripe runs along their back down to the tail tip. Red foxes are a deep reddish brown to yellowish red with a characteristic bushy red tail tipped with white. The red fox weighs between 8-14 pounds, and is 36-45 inches long.
Foxes dig dens usually in hollow trees or logs and rock piles. Using its ability to climb trees, fox dens have been found in hollow tree trunks as high as to 32 feet up! In more urban/suburban settings, fox may dig their dens in brush piles or compost piles. A fox’s home range usually extends from about two to seven miles, but they only cover a small portion of this each day.
Foxes mate in mid-winter; pups are born approximately 9 weeks later. Male and female foxes stay together to raise their young. Usually by April or May, the female may be seen with one or more pups during the day teaching them what they can eat. The pups become independent after about 3-6 months of age.
Also referred to as a “forest fox,” the gray fox is native to the eastern forests of both Georgia and the United States. Gray foxes seem to be more predominate in southeast Georgia. Even though gray foxes are associated primarily with forested areas, they are also found along woodland edges and in and around urban/suburban areas.
Originally introduced into America by European settlers and now found throughout Georgia and most of the United States, the red fox is commonly found in areas of mixed pine-hardwood forests interspersed with fields, cropland and/or grasslands. Red foxes are quite common in urban and suburban areas throughout Georgia because of the abundance of food in these areas and their adaptability. Red fox tend to be much more curious about its surroundings than gray fox and may be seen quietly watching the goings-on in your yard, field or pasture.
Foxes are considered carnivores because a large portion of their diet includes rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, birds and insects, however they also will eat carrion and vegetation including all types of fruits, nuts and berries. Red foxes sometimes kill more than they can eat and bury food in for later use.
Fox are very adaptable. Because of this as well as the abundant food and shelter associated with these areas, foxes are quite common in cities, towns and subdivisions, as well as in their natural habitat. Although foxes are primarily hunt at night, it is not uncommon to see a fox during the day. If you see a fox during the day in either the woods or in your yard, the best advice is to simply leave it alone. You may want to remove any bird feeders that may be attracting mice and birds to your yard, which in turn attracts foxes. Other prey items for foxes include domestic fowl like chickens, guineas, and ducks.
People are frequently concerned about their pets being outdoors when foxes are around. The best way to avoid encounters between foxes and pets is to keep pets indoors, especially at night. Animals such as rabbits and chickens should be housed in structures that are secure from predators.
Foxes can carry the same diseases and parasites that domestic dogs carry, such as rabies, distemper, parvo, internal parasites (worms), fleas, ticks and mange.