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Gray Fox

Fox Information    

Gray Fox Range and Description    Mating Habits of Gray Fox    Territorial and Hunting    Gray Fox Picture

The gray fox is found from southern Canada throughout most of the southern United States and Central America to Venezuela.  They are forest dwellers and the only animal in the family of Canidae able to climb trees.  The gray fox  prefer woodlands or partially open brush and often like the rocky and broken terrain of the arid southwestern US.  

The gray fox is a small fox with a peppered brown back, grayish- black sides, neck and legs and white belly.  It has Gray Fox picture black stripe along its tail, a black stripe that goes across its face from nose to eye and continues to the side of its

Mating Habits of Gray Fox

Adult gray foxes mate for life with the same partner.  They mate in February, same time as the coyote and a few weeks after the red fox.  If not using a hollow tree, the female fox, or vixen, digs a den or enlarges the burrow of another animal.  The den can get up to seventy five feet long and have ten or more exits.  The gray fox prefers its den in clefts, small caves, rock piles, hollow logs and hollow trees, especially oaks.  Occupied in mating season, the dens are seldom used the rest of the year.  Adult females give birth to two to eight kits born with their eyes closed and their body covered in a blackish coat.  They open their eyes after ten to fourteen days and eat independently at four months.  Unlike the red fox, the adult male gray fox provides all the food for its young until it can catch 
prey by itself.

Territorial and Hunting

The gray fox hunts in a straight line and uses a “mouse pounce” completed by jumping up to three feet above the ground and diving front paws first onto its prey.  This stuns the prey or effectively flushes it from its hiding place into the open to be caught.  The gray fox eat cottontail rabbits, rodents, birds and insects as well as fruit and berries. 
They eat more vegetable material than the red fox.

Like the red fox, the gray fox marks its territory boundaries with feces and urine left on conspicuous landmarks like grass and prominent structures.  The scent is a pungent odor like that of a skunk.  The gray fox uses several vocalizations of yapping, howls, barks, soft whimpers and screams, but is less vocal that the red fox.
Other than humans who shoot and trap them, the gray fox has few enemies.

Credits: Our thanks to Lani Powell, who researched and wrote our fox articles!

Return to North American Fox Information

Red Fox and Gray Fox Comparisons

Gray Fox