Featured Products for Fox Control

General Biology, Reproduction and Behavior

Fox are crepuscular animals, being most active during the early hours of darkness and the very early morning hours. They do move during the day, but especially when it is dark and overcast.

Fox are solitary animals except from the winter breeding season through midsummer, when mates and their young associate closely. Fox have a wide variety of calls. They may bark, scream, howl, yap, growl, or make sounds similar to a hiccup. During winter a male will often give a yelling bark, “wo-wo-wo” that seems to be important in warning other male fox not to intrude on his territory. Red fox may dig their own dens or use abandoned burrows of wood piles, rocky outcrops, hollow trees, or brush piles as den sites. Fox use their urine and feces to mark their territories.

Mating in red fox normally occurs from mid January to early February. At high latitudes (in the Arctic) mating occurs from late February to early March. Estrus in the vixens lasts 1 to 6 days, followed by a 51 to 53 day gestation periods. Fox pops can be born from March in southern areas to May in the arctic zones. Red fox generally produce 4 to 9 pups. Gray fox usually have 3 to 7 pups per litter. Arctic fox may have 1 to 14 pups, but usually only have 5 or 6. Fox disperse from denning areas during the fall months and establish breeding areas in vacant territories, sometimes dispersing considerable distances. 

Damage and Damage Identification

Fox may cause serious problems for poultry producers. Turkeys raised in large range pens are subject to damage by fox. Losses may be heavy in small farm flocks of chickens, ducks and geese. Young pigs, lambs and small pets are also killed by fox. Damage can be difficult to detect because the prey is usually carried from the kill site to a den site, or uneaten parts are buried. Fox usually attack the throat of young livestock, but some kill by inflicting multiple bites to the neck and back. Fox do not generally prefer the viscera and often begin feeding through an entry behind the ribs. Fox will also scavenge carcasses, making the actual cause of death difficult to determine.

Pheasants, waterfowl other game birds and small game mammals are also preyed upon by fox. At times, fox predation may be a significant mortality factor for upland and wetland birds, including some endangered species. 

Rabies outbreaks are most prevalent among fox in southeastern Canada and occasionally in the eastern United States. The incidence of rabies in fox has declined substantially since the mid 1960’s for unexplained reasons. In 1990, there were only 197 reported cases of fox rabies in the United States as compared to 1821 for raccoons and 1579 for skunks. Rabid fox are a threat to humans, domestic animals and wildlife. 

Information is from Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage-Cooperative Extension University of Nebraska-Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee-United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Damage Control