Are you wondering what foxes eat? They have a diverse diet. They are excellent hunters catching and killing smaller animals that are below them in the food chain. Their prey includes rabbits, small birds, frogs, and rodents, among other small animals.
For this reason, you might assume they are carnivores, but the truth is that they are omnivorous. They feed on berries, fruits, and vegetables. For urban foxes, they tend to scavenge for leftover food in the dustbin.
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Foxes Habits and Biology
Foxes live in diverse habitats, including mountains, grassland, forests, deserts, and the human environment, such as suburban areas and farms. Their resourcefulness has made them be recognized as the most cunning and intelligent animals in the juggle. Like cats, their thick tails help with balance, warm cover, and communication with other foxes.
How do animals know they are stepping into their enemies’ territory? Every animal has a distinctive manner in which they mark their habitat or home. For foxes, they mark their territory using their urine, faeces and scent. Scent can also be used during the breeding season to mark their reproductive status. How big is the foxes’ habitat? Their territory ranges between 2kms to 5kms. Their population density and food availability influence their habitat size. In some areas, there are more foxes than others, and in such a case, they will have a significant habitat compared to places they are few.
While foxes are omnivores, they are solitary hunters catching smaller animals like rodents and rabbits. They also eat fruits, vegetables and those living near the human environment scavenge for leftovers in the dustbins. They hide in their habitat during the day, which is usually a hole underground or a hole at a big tree. At nightfall, they leap out to go hunting and patrol their territory. They are generally described as opportunistic predators and scavengers.
In a day, they eat about 300g to 450g a diet comprising small prey such as birds, rabbits, and mice. Though they are omnivores, they only eat fruits and ground nuts when there is food scarcity. However, when food is abundant, they will hunt excess and bury them for seasons like winter when the food is scarce.
In early spring and during winter, foxes meet to mate. The gestation period usually lasts 51 to 53 days, and 2 to 12 cubs are born. Winning takes about four to six weeks. During this period, both parents take care of their young one before they can start hunting independently at the beginning of the fall when they are between 10 and 12 weeks. By the time they reach six months, they are independent. In one year, both males and female reach their sexual maturity, and they start to disintegrate from the family and move to a new environment to establish their own
Their population is primarily managed by various diseases such as parvovirus and distemper, predators higher in the food chain like the leopards and humans. Also, during food scarcity, foxes can feed on young and week foxes, thus reducing their population.
Do Foxes Eat Dirt?
Foxes are known to have a broad diet ranging from meat to fruits and nuts. They are also known to hunt excess food when abundant and bury it for when there is scarcity.
Such meat will get dirt from the soil, but foxes will still eat. They dig up the earthworms and groundnuts, which are generally covered in dirt, and eat them.
More so, city foxes and those living close to humans scavenge for food in the dustbin, packed with other dirt.
What Do Foxes Like To Eat Most? (Fox diet)
1. Meat protein diet
They hunt from evening through the night. For those living near the city or human habitats, if you want to feed them, you can give them cooked meat, and they will keep visiting your home.
They also love tinned pet food like Pedigree chopped ground dinner wet dog food. These are dog food. If you have a dog, you can choose to share them with foxes visiting your home. You can also order specifically to feed the foxes.
Do foxes love fruits and vegetables? Foxes love vegetables like frozen vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and they would eat them all through the day. Several teaspoons of vegetables daily would do the trick for young foxes and large spoons of vegetables for bigger foxes.
How do I know if I am feeding a lot of vegetables to a fox? Observe their stool, and if you notice to compose a lot of vegetable matter, there higher chances you are feeding it a lot of veggies, and it is necessary to reduce them.
Similarly, fruits like cherries and berries should not be provided as the main diet but rather as a treat.
Taurine is a form of vitamin supplement necessary for fox’s health. It can be found in dog foods. If it is not part of the ingredients from the tin in which you are feeding your fox’s you can purchase taurine capsules.
For young foxes, about 500g daily is enough supplements, but adults might require more. However, this is not a requirement as they get vitamins from non-grain foods and small animals like mice, rodents, and insects.
Food to Avoid Feeding Foxes
Before diving into the specific type of food that you should avoid feeding your fox, any food that can hurt a dog or a cat is poisonous to your fox.
1. Avoid feeding grains to foxes
While foxes are known as wild scavengers, they do not eat grains in the wild. Therefore, under no circumstances should you feed them with a diet comprising grains like oats, rice or wheat.
2. Fruits like grapes and raisins
These fruits are known to cause vomiting, kidney problems, and hypercalcemia in dogs and foxes. Since they are lethal to foxes, they should not be anywhere close to their diet.
3. Avoid feeding foxes’ with pepper, tomatoes or green eggplant
These types of fruits are known to contain toxins called glycoalkaloids. Even the leaves and stems of these plants should be avoided.
While after the fruits ripen, the toxins are said to leave the plant and are safe for animal consumption, the fruits still retain their toxins level, making them not suitable for foxes’ consumption.
However, tomatoes can be fed but at a controlled level to prevent toxins buildup.
4. Avoid feeding green potatoes.
Green potatoes contain several toxins that are harmful to foxes. As such, care should be taken when storing potatoes to avoid being exposed to sunlight.
The potatoes should instead be stored in a light-proof sack. Any sprouting or green potatoes should not be part of the foxes’ diet as not even cooking can destroy the toxins.
5. Coffee and chocolate
When foxes are thirsty, let them take plain water and nothing else. Coffee, for instance, contains about 150mg of caffeine which is enough lethal doses to a fox.
Similarly, chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is poisonous to many animals, including foxes.
Tips to Feed Foxes
Feeding wild animals is one way of getting closer to nature. Besides, when foxes are on the verge of becoming extinct due to numerous predators, including themselves, feeding can help them thrive.
Would you like to feed some foxes in your neighborhood, but you do not know how? The best way to feed foxes in your backyard is to try and give them the same diet they are used to in the forest.
A wild animal will always be wild, and no matter how much their diet might seem unsuitable, it is essential to maintain its neutrality as much as possible.
Feeding them with raw or cooked meat is excellent, and other canned pet foods and unsalted peanuts, fruits, and cheese. Below are some feeding tips:
- Establish a feeding program that encourages foxes to visit your home at a specific time by leaving some food out in the garden or backyard. The fox will get used to the program when they visit any other time, and they find nothing.
- Leave a bowl of water near the food.
- Leave enough food but not too much to become lazy to search for its food and become dependent on you.
- Feed them during seasons when their food is scarce in the wilderness, like during winter.
- Regularly clean your feeding utensils to avoid contamination and the spread of diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Can foxes climb fences?
Yes, foxes have claws that enable them to climb up a fence of up to six feet high
2. Can foxes jump up a fence?
Yes, foxes have the potential of jumping off a fence which is three meters high
3. Can foxes be pets?
No, despite their deceiving friendly appearances, do not make them your pet as wild animal will always be wild.
4. Can foxes swim?
Yes, foxes are like cats and can swim pretty well, and they truly do swim
5. Can foxes climb trees?
Yes, Foxes can climb up trees and especially the grey species
6. Can foxes eat chocolate?
No. Chocolate is poisonous to a fox and any animal of Canidae family.
7. Can foxes eat raw chicken?
Yes, foxes can eat chicken raw or cooked their primary diet is meat
8. Can foxes eat chicken bones?
Yes, foxes eat a wide variety of diet and can therefore eat chicken bone without any problem
9. Will foxes attack humans?
No, foxes are not a threat to human as they are higher in the food chain
10. Will foxes attack cats?
No, foxes belong to the same family as cats and therefore pose little or no threat to them
While foxes are omnivorous, you would expect them to eat fruit and vegetable only. However, they have a diverse diet which includes meat hunted at night and down.
Meat is their primary food diet, and they only eat vegetables when there is scarcity. As such, there is a wide range of food that you can feed foxes, but some are poisonous and should be avoided. However, do not try to tame a fox as a wild animal will remain to be wild.