Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Mammalia 
Order: Carnivora 
Family: Canidae 
Genus Vulpes 
Species: Vulpes vulpes 

This is the time of year when red foxes breed. From December in the south of the US to April in the north. I am in the central region (Maryland) and Jan-Feb are prime breeding months. The female is only fertile 1 - 6 days in a year and although she may mate with a number of males she establishes a pair bond with just one male. Males may bond with more than one female. Males fight during this season. Except for pair bonds red foxes typically travel alone, not in packs.

I was just privileged to see 2 red foxes in my suburban back yard. They clearly were traveling together. Since this is prime mating time in my area I am concluding they are a pair. I've only seen solitary red foxes before. Pups may be born in 2 months and be leaving the den in 3 - 4 months, putting us into May. Pups stay with the mother until autumn. I'll be watching for them.

Due to upcoming road development and the construction of a sound barrier wall and the subsequent loss of near by major wetland acreage this may be the last of the red foxes in my yard. They are territorial animals with a range of 5 to 50 square kilometers (depending on the habitats' quality) for each male and "his" bonded females and their young. Red foxes eat fruit and small rodents and human garbage. I would think this has been a pretty good habitat for them up to now. Plenty of all of the above around here. Since red foxes maintain the same territory for life and this pair's territory may be cut in half by a planned road and sound barrier less than a mile north of me even if their territory is on the small side of average there will probably be disruption in their lives. Maybe their territory is more to my south and I'll see them again OR maybe the road built last year to my west trapped them over here. I'm sad to see development destroy the habitat of these and other wild creatures.


A year later 1/12/03
I have not seen a pair again. I also never saw pups from the pair discussed above. The road and sound barrier I discussed above have not been constructed yet so the territory I worried about disruption of is still intact.

I have seen 3 solitary red fox in near by areas within the last weeks. It is unusual to see so many so I can only conclude they are out more, actively seeking mates.

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