Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family:    Canidae
Size:    Length: 21 to 47 inches (53 to 119 cm) 
Weight: 7 to 16 pounds (3 to 7 kg)
Diet: Small mammals (rabbits, voles, mice, rats), birds, fruit, nuts, grain, vegetation and insects
Distribution: North America, northern South America
Young:  1 litter of 1 to 10 pups per year
Animal Predators:  Cougars, eagles, bobcats, coyotes, lynxes and wolves
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Male: Reynard   Female: Vixen   Young: Kit or Pup
Lifespan: 6 to 10 years in the wild and 10 to 12 in captivity



·        Grey foxes can climb trees and jump from branch to branch, just like cats.

·        Unlike red foxes, grey foxes escape their enemies by finding cover rather than outrunning them.

·        Grey foxes are also known as tree foxes.



Their fur is grey, with white patches under the throat, on the end of the snout and along the legs and underbelly. Black fur is found on the top of their bushy tail and down the middle of the back. They also have rusty red brown fur along their sides and on their head. They have specially hooked claws that enable them to climb trees.



Grey foxes prefer to live in forests; they are dependent on trees for shelter and to escape their enemies because they lack endurance. They also can be found near marshes and in woods bordering open areas such as farms.


Feeding Habits

Grey foxes eat small mammals such as rabbits, voles, mice and rats and are instrumental in keeping rodent populations from getting out of hand. Their diet changes with the season, eating mostly meat in the winter, but incorporating fruit—especially blueberries, raspberries and wild cherries and grapes, into their diet in summer, in addition to nuts, grain and birds. Foxes track their prey by creeping up slowly and silently, then pouncing. Grey foxes hunt alone, never in packs.



Mating takes place in winter or spring, depending on where they live, with births occurring approximately two months later. Both parents build a den together during this time, and remain together to raise the pups, who are born with their eyes closed. The pups eyes open in 10 days. Fathers bring food for their mate as well as for their pups when they begin to eat solid food at six weeks of age. The pups stay with their parents until late fall. Grey foxes tend to be monogamous and remain together for life, although in some cases they may go their separate ways for the winter. 



Dens are either high off the ground in hollow trees or in a burrow, usually one left behind by another animal and enlarged to accommodate a fox family. The foxes will renovate the den to have as many as 10 or more exits and they may be as large as 75 feet (22 m) long, with various chambers for food storage, while other chambers are lined with leaves, grass or fur for living quarters. 



Environment Canada lists grey foxes as Threatened and they are protected in Manitoba, but not in Ontario or Quebec.  



Gray Fox Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US