Is it just us, or is the cuteness of foxes underrated? Sure, we hear all about dogs and cats (and we love them!), but there’s just something about a cute fox that transports us to a storybook world. And foxes aren’t just adorable, they’re also fascinating creatures — the animals have a long history and many unique and charming traits. Here are some of our favorite fox facts, along with cute fox photos that will put a smile on your face.
1. There are many different types of foxes
When you think of a fox, a red fox is likely what first comes to mind — think the kind you see in Disney cartoons and picture books. Red foxes are the most common type, and in fact, the Encyclopedia Britannica reports that red foxes have “the largest natural distribution of any land mammal except human beings.” Other rarer varieties of fox include the Bengal fox, the Blanford’s fox, the South African silver fox (and no, when we say “silver fox” here, we’re not talking about George Clooney!), the Corsac fox, the Tibetan fox, the pale fox, the sand fox, the swift fox and the fennec fox.
2. Foxes have been around for an incredibly long time
Foxes are canines, which means they’re in the same category as wolves, coyotes, jackals and dogs (and you can definitely see the connection between dog and fox in a dog breed like the Shiba Inu). Like most animals, foxes have been through considerable evolution. They’re believed to have descended from wolf ancestors about 12 million years ago.
3. Foxes have inspired many sayings
Foxes are known for being cunning, tricky creatures, and they’ve shown up in ancient fables and mythology all over the world. The personality of foxes has inspired many a figure of speech, from “crazy like a fox” (meaning someone who may appear strange but is actually more clever than they initially seemed) to “foxy” (meaning an attractive woman) to “vixen” (also meaning an attractive woman — the word literally means “female fox”) to “shenanigan” (meaning silly behavior and possibly derived from sionnach, the Irish word for fox).
4. Some foxes show aspects of domestication
As cute as foxes are, they shouldn’t be kept as pets. Foxes are wild animals, but surprisingly, there are fox populations that exhibit behaviors not unlike domesticated dogs. The BBC reported on the presence of urban red foxes in the UK. These foxes are friendly and don’t fear humans, plus were found to have smaller brains and differently shaped snouts than wild foxes.
5. Foxes can use the Earth’s magnetic field
Foxes are deeply connected to the Earth. A study found that they tend to jump in a northeasterly direction, which researchers say aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field. According to Jaroslav Červený, who made this impressive discovery, foxes use the magnetic field as a “rangefinder” that helps them pounce effectively to catch prey.
6. Foxes eat all kinds of things
Foxes are omnivores, which means they eat rabbits, rodents, birds, frogs and earthworms as well as berries and fruit. Urban foxes (like the friendly ones in the UK) adapt to their environment by foraging in the trash and catching pigeons and rats.
7. Foxes make some weird sounds
Some pretty weird sounds can come out of that sweet face! Typical fox sounds include howling, screaming, barking, squealing and even something known as “gekkering.” They’re also known for making a sound similar to a bird’s call.
8. Foxes are fast
Ever heard the phrase “quick as a fox”? It’s rooted in facts! You don’t want to get in a race with a fox — they can run up to 45 miles per hour, which makes them some of the fastest animals around. The fact that they’re small and slim (just 7 to 15 pounds) helps them run like lightning.
9. Foxes have excellent hearing
Foxes possess extremely sharp senses that help them find their prey. Their hearing is so powerful that they can hear a mouse squeak from 100 feet away. They can easily pick up on low-frequency sounds and rodents digging underground (even when they’re beneath snow!), and once a fox hears its target, it can then dig for or pounce on the soon-to-be dinner.
10. Foxes don’t attack humans
Foxes may be cute, but if you saw one in your yard, you might get a little nervous. The Humane Society reports that foxes are not actually dangerous and only attack humans if they are rabid or get captured. Foxes are actually afraid of people, and their instinct is to flee rather than fight.
Can’t get enough cute animal facts? Read on:
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