Red Fox

Meet Alaska's smaller canid species, the red fox. They are the smaller cousins to the wolf and coyote in the family Canidae. They are larger than the smallest of Alaska’s canids, the Arctic fox. While in the same family as wolves and coyotes and Arctic fox, they have a very different hunting style. Back to animal directory.

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red fox

LIFE SPAN: 15 years in captivity.

RANGE: Red fox are found throughout most of Alaska south of the Brooks Range, except for some of the Aleutian islands and islands of Southeast Alaska.

SIZE: Adults weigh between 6-15 pounds.

PHYSICAL FEATURES: Red fox are identified by their white-tipped tails and black legs, regardless of their coat color. Many variations of coat color exist, from red (most common) to silver or black. There is also a cross coloration, a mix in color between red and darker fur across the shoulders. The red fox does not change coat color seasonally.

FOOD: The red fox is highly omnivorous. They prefer to eat voles but will also eat small mammals, birds, eggs, insects, vegetation and carrion. The fox caches (stores) excess food when hunting is good and will remember cache locations and return later if extra food resources are needed.

BEHAVIOR: The red fox is a member of the family Canidae, the dog family. They are different from other members of this family in that they do not outrun prey as a preferred method. Wolves rely on endurance to chase and tire prey. Although fox can sprint at 30 mph for short distances, they rely on stealth and pouncing to catch prey. Fox will circle potential victims and jump 3 feet in the air to pin their prey down with their paws.

CONSERVATION: Red fox populations are stable in Alaska.

PLANT NOTES: Fox prefer to den in areas with vegetation cover, particularly in riparian (stream edge) areas.