Vulpes vulpes

vulpesvulpesPOWERFACT! The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has the widest geographic distribution of any carnivore.1

The fox is the sort of animal that you start off talking about with a powerfact.

Red foxes are highly adaptable critters.  They live all across the northern hemisphere except in harsh deserts and upper Arctic regions (see close relatives the Kit fox and Arctic fox for Vulpes coverage in those zones).1  Part of their success lies in their ability to be opportunistic regarding behavior and food. Got lots of room in a barren environment? They can be solitary critters occupying large home ranges. Got a lot of resources clumped together? They can hang out in family groups with older offspring sticking around to help raise young.2  Gotta deal with urban dangers and human-imposed challenges? They are the cunning-est.

So when hunters introduced them to Australia in the late 1800s, the foxes were all, yeah, this’ll do, and basically took over, eating native fauna (real bad) and fellow invasive mammal, the rabbit (not so bad) 2.  While trying to get foxes off of farmland is a common farmer move in Australia, if they are successful, it could cost them a lot in crop loss due to the damage that the bunnies would inflict.2  That’s some classic Australia stuff right there.

On top of being generally boss at surviving (except in say Vulpes vulpes vs. Puma concolor) they are the largest of the true foxes and extremely handsome, embodying an almost mystical vibe.1  Japanese culture considers the fox, or kitsune, a magical, shapeshifting animal that can take on human form, often a lovely lady form, with only its tail and maybe a fine layer of golden fur giving its true nature away.3  City dwelling foxes give urbanites a chance to glimpse this magical, steely-eyed predator in the flesh.  And for that we are grateful. If you get to see one some evening going hunting or early morning returning to its den and it makes eye contact with you, you’ll see what we mean.

References: 1.Red fox (Wiki) 2. Mammal Review (Saunders et al. 2010)  3.Kitsune (Wiki)


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