Description: The gray fox is slightly smaller than the red fox and has coarse, salt and pepper gray hair. Black markings on the head, nose, and muzzle. Medial black stripe down the top surface of the tail with a black tip. (Not a white tip like red foxes)
Geographic Range: Southern Canada to northern Venezuela (South America), excluding northwestern United States
Status: Fairly common in southeastern counties of MN
Height: About 14” at the shoulder. Their legs are relatively short compared to the red fox; overall body length is up to 47 inches.
Weight: 6 – 15 pounds, males slightly heavier than females
Habitat: Woodlands, forests, abandoned hay fields and pastures, thick shrubs
Typical Diet: Virtually every kind of meat, fruit, vegetable or insect. Small mammals, especially cotton-tail rabbits are favorites. Opportunistic foragers, using hunting techniques from stalking to dash-and-grab. The best known techniques is the “mouse pounce”, which is done by jumping up above the ground and diving, front paws first, onto the prey. The impact stuns the prey, or flushes it, allowing the fox to catch it.
Similar Species: Red Fox, Kit Fox, Swift Fox.
-The gray fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees-sometimes called the “tree fox” or the “cat fox”
-They are primarily nocturnal, but may forage during the day
-The female may den in a hollow tree or dig a den. The den may be as long as 75 ft. and can have 10 or more exits
-Gray foxes mate in February or March
-Young are born in April or May
-3 to 7 pups are dark brown and born blind
-A pungent odor, similar to skunks
-Vocalizations include yapping, howling, barks, whimpers and screams
-They descend from trees by backing down like a cat or bear