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The Fox

The Fox

Foxes are members of the dog family or the Canidae family. They have bushy-tails, pointed ears, and narrow snouts. There are around ten species of ‘true’ foxes, especially the red or common fox or ‘Vulpes’ in Latin. The male fox is called a dog, the female a vixen and a fox family consists of one dog and several related vixens but only the dominant vixen will reproduce. The young are called cubs, pups or kits and are born in Spring. They are born blind and deaf, many die before they are one year old and most wild foxes live only for an average of three to four years. However, the red fox is second to humans in terms of natural distribution over any other land mammal.

The foxes' home is called a den or an earth. Foxes are carnivores: they eat rabbits, hares, rats, mice, bugs, worms and sometimes fruit. Foxes can find food all year round and often cache food for later use. Foxes often kill chickens, turkey, geese and young lambs on farms and are often viewed as a pest for farmers and some pet- owners. If a fox becomes familiar with a domestic area, they are known to eat scraps of food left out by humans and sometimes raid bins and can survive well in urban settings.

In Japanese folklore, foxes or ‘Kitsune’ are depicted as intelligent beings which possess magical abilities. They are also described as shift shapers. Some folklore see kitsune using this ability for trickery and deceit- Similar to foxes in European Mythology, such tales included ‘Reynard the Fox’. However not all mythology based around foxes depict them as sly or cunning in nature. Some Japanese myths portray foxes as faithful friends or powerful and sometimes influential creatures.

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