Red Fox

Walter Colvin

Showlow, United States

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Artist's Description

3d art render of a red fox by the waters edge.

Made with Bryce 3d, some post work in Photoshop.

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a small canid
native to much of North America and Eurasia,
as well as northern Africa. In Ireland and the
UK, where there are no longer any other
native wild canids, it is referred to simply as
“the fox”. It was introduced into Australia in the
19th century. As its name suggests, its fur is
predominantly reddish-brown, but there is a
naturally occurring grey morph known as the
“silver” fox; a strain of domesticated silver fox
has been produced from these animals by
systematic domestication.
Today, the red fox has a range spanning most
of North America and Eurasia, southern
Australia, and with several populations in North
Africa. In Australia the red fox is an introduced
species and a conservation problem.
Introduction occurred about 1850, for
recreational fox hunting, In North America the
red fox is native in boreal regions, introduced
in temperate regions. There is a recent fossil
record of Red foxes in boreal North America,
and one subspecies of these native boreal
foxes extends south in the Rocky Mountains. In
temperate North America, Red foxes are
derived from European Red foxes, which were
introduced into the Southeastern United States
around 1650-1750 for fox hunting, and from
there to California for the fur trade. The first
introduction is attributed to Robert Brooke, Sr.,
who is said to have imported 24 Red foxes
from England. The introduced European Red
fox may have interbred with the scarce
indigenous population to produce a hybrid
population. Three subspecies of Red fox are
found in India: Vulpes vulpes montana (the
Tibetan Red fox), found in Ladakh and the
Himalayas, Vulpes vulpes griffithi (the Kashmir
Fox) found in Jammu and Kashmir less the
Ladakh sector, and Vulpes vulpes pusilla (the
Desert Fox) found in the Thar Desert of
Rajasthan and in Kutch, Gujarat. A subspecies,
the Japanese Red fox (Vulpes vulpes japonica)
migrated from India to China and eventually to
Japan.

Although classified as a carnivore, red foxes
are omnivorous and are highly opportunistic.
Prey can range in size from 0.5 cm insects to
150 cm red-crowned cranes. The majority of
their diet consists of invertebrates, such as
insects, mollusks, earthworms and crayfish.
They also eat plant material, especially
blackberries, apples, plums and other fruit.
Common vertebrate prey includes rodents (such
as mice and voles), rabbits, birds, eggs,
amphibians, small reptiles and fish. Foxes have
been known to kill deer fawns. In Scandinavia,
predation by Red fox is the most important
mortality cause for neonatal Roe deer. They
will scavenge carrion and other edible material
they find, and in urban areas, they will
scavenge on human refuse, even eating from
pet food bowls left outside. Analysis of country
and urban fox diets show that urban foxes
have a higher proportion of scavenged food
than country foxes. They typically eat 0.5 to 1
kg (1 to 2 lb) of food a day.
They usually hunt alone. With their acute
sense of hearing, they can locate small
mammals in thick grass, and they jump high in
the air to pounce on the prey. They also stalk
prey such as rabbits, keeping hidden until
close enough to catch them in a short dash.
Foxes tend to be extremely possessive of their
food and will not share it with others.
Exceptions to this rule include dog foxes
feeding vixens during courtship and vixens
feeding cubs.
Red foxes have disproportionately small
stomachs for their size and can only eat half
as much food in relation to their body weight
as wolves and dogs can (about 10% compared
with 20%). In periods of abundance, foxes will
cache excess food against starvation at other
times. They typically store the food in shallow
holes (5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) deep). Foxes
tend to make many small caches, scattering
them across their territories rather than storing
their food in a single central location. This is
thought to prevent the loss of the fox’s entire
food supply in the event that another animal
finds the store.

Artwork Comments

  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
  • Walter Colvin
  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
  • Walter Colvin
  • JacquiK
  • Walter Colvin
  • JRGarland
  • Walter Colvin
  • Keith Reesor
  • Walter Colvin
  • frogster
  • Walter Colvin
  • JacquiK
  • Breno Loester Cogo
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