The fox is a predator, a mammal from the canine family. The Latin name of this genus most likely came from a distortion of the words lupus and wolf, which are translated from Latin and German as “wolf,” and so it turned out vulpes. In the Old Slavonic language, the adjective "fox" most often corresponded to the color definition of red, yellow-red - those combinations that are found in the color of this beast.
Description of the fox can begin with its size, which depends on the species. Growth can be from 18 (Fenech) to 90 cm, and it weighs from 700 grams (the same Fenech) to 10 kg. A characteristic external feature is a flexible, long body with short legs and an elongated muzzle. The fluffy tail, whose length on an ordinary fox reaches 60 cm, looks very rich. In addition to the decorative function, it serves as a balancer while running and retains heat in winter.
This forest beast relies more on touch and smell than on sight, and he also has excellent hearing. The ears are large, elongated, sharp, with a length of 10 to 15 cm. The eyes are clearly visible in the dark, vision for this is fully adapted, but does not recognize colors. Foxes, like wolves, have 42 teeth. An exception is the larger-eared fox - she has 6 more teeth .
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The density of the predator's hair varies depending on the time of the year: in winter, the fur becomes more magnificent, and in summer - less and shorter. The color scheme varies from sand to red and brown, there are also completely white or black foxes. Regardless of color and classification, these animals live on average 3-10 years, in captivity, life expectancy can increase up to 25 years.
Habitats and habits
The common fox is the largest representative of the genus - the length of the body along with the tail reaches 150 cm, while males, as a rule, are always larger than females. The appearance of an individual of this species can be easily distinguished from all the others by black ears and a white tip of the nose.
It is found throughout Europe, in North Africa, Asia, North America and Australia. In nature, these animals are used to hunting field mice, rabbits, young immature roe deer, eating them. Sometimes they ruin the nests of geese, and are also able to eat carrion, if weather conditions and lack of food force it. Do not disdain larvae and bugs. A very interesting feature of this fox is that, among other things, it can feed on crops .
In nature, most often the animal is looking for a reliable shelter, living in impassable forests. Where the fox lives, most often there are ravines overgrown with grass and shrubs. She digs holes or uses the rest from other animals. Easily adapts to life near human settlements, sometimes sleeping in the open.
These animals, like wolves, are also monogamous, the mating season happens once a year. How long the race lasts and when it starts - depends on living conditions, climate, the amount of food. Roughly all this happens from December to March. In order to give birth to offspring, to raise and train him, the animals form a pair for the season, except perhaps Korsakov - they have one partner for life.
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The preparatory stage of mating games is to find a convenient hole for posterity. The arrangement of the female is often achieved at the same time by several "suitors", therefore, during courtship, there are brief but violent fights between them. The male in every possible way protects his pregnant lady of the heart: he arranges the den, protects and even catches parasites from her.
Pregnancy lasts from 48 to 60 days. In one litter appears 4-6 blind, deaf and toothless puppies. Their appearance:
- the color of the coat immediately after birth is light, in rare cases - black-brown;
- weight of foxes varies from 40 to 100 grams;
- height is about 14 cm.
A few weeks after birth, they develop hearing and vision. At the same time, the upper teeth erupt. For a month and a half, puppies feed on milk, while getting used to meat and the process of obtaining it. Parents teach foxes to hunt insects, lizards and frogs first. At the end of the summer, they already resemble adults, some of the puppies may “grow up” earlier .
In November, they leave their “father’s home” for adulthood in order to have their offspring in a couple of years.
Fairy tale or true story
The fox has not in vain become the hero of many stories and fables. She is direct and dodgy, capable of anything for the sake of prey. Here are a few facts that perhaps not everyone knows about:
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- In ancient times, fox skins replaced money.
- This predatory beast is so smart and cunning that it can easily circle hunters' fingers and confuse dogs.
- Patrickevna’s patronymic “fabulous” fox was received from the Prince of Novgorod, who was distinguished by a flexible mind and cunning, due to which he was always successful in commercial matters.
- In the folklore of different countries, it is a symbol of cunning, but not all. For example, in Japan, Kitsune (fox) was considered a werewolf and could turn into a pretty girl to lure a traveler into her nets, steal his soul, and in Mesopotamia the animal was sacred.
Beauty and ingenuity is attributed to this beast all over the world, but it’s enough to read several Russian folk tales and it will immediately become clear how dangerous this colorful character is as a predator.