Gray foxes resemble small dogs with bushy tails. They have long bodies, relatively short legs, pointed noses, and large pointed ears. They are silvery gray with a black streak extending to the tip of their tail. The gray fox is found throughout most of the southern half of North America, in many different habitats. They are nocturnal and during the day den in hollow trees, stumps, or burrows.
The gray fox gives birth to pups in a ground burrow. Litters of 1 to 7 pups are born in April or May, with both parents caring for their young. At 3 months of age pups begin to hunt with their parents. One month later, they are able to forage for food on their own. Family groups will stay together until fall, when the young disperse.
The gray fox is the only true tree climber in the canine family. They have strong, hooked claws that allow them to scramble up trees to avoid predators or to access fruit.
Rodent and Insect Eaters
Gray foxes perform a valuable service by controlling rodent and insect populations. Their diet consists of rabbits, mice, squirrels, insects and fruit.
Threats to Foxes
Many foxes are shot or poisoned by farmers concerned about their livestock. In truth, foxes are not a serious threat. They are also hunted and killed for sport, and trapped for their fur. Predators include bobcats, wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs.