Foxes are becoming more common in our cities than in the countryside. If you've ever been woken by a terrifying scream or found the contents of your bins strewn across the pavement, then chances are you've got a fox living nearby. Check out our fox facts to find out what all the foxy fuss is about...
1. Doggy style
Foxes are members of the dog family and are related to wolves and jackals but, unlike their cousins, are not pack animals. So fantastic Mr (or Mrs) Fox is solitary beast who prefers to live alone – unless they have young to look after. A female fox is called a vixen, a male is called a dog and baby foxes are called pups.
Typical fox appearance? Ginger and, well, foxy…with pointy faces and big bushy tails. They weigh between 7 and 15lb and have lithe frames.
3. How long do they live?
Not long! Usually only one or two years, although they have been known to survive for up to nine if they’re particularly sly.
4. The fox who thinks he’s a cat
Although they’re part of the dog family, foxes share many characteristics of the cat.
Like your moggy, they’re most active at night and stalk and pounce on their prey in a similar way.
They also have retractable claws like cats and have vertical pupils that allow them to see in dim light.
5. For fox sake, what’s that noise?!
Foxes mate from December to February. If you’ve ever been woken at night thinking your neighbours are being murdered, it’ll probably be the eerie, high-pitched scream of the vixen mating (we hope!)
6. Playing chicken
Foxes are great hunters. They’re omnivores, which means they’ll eat virtually anything they come across – worms, spiders, small animals such as mice or a lovely bit of discarded KFC.
7. Dad, our rubbish is all over the street again
Foxes are big scavengers and love going through your bin bags looking for food and making a lovely mess in the process. Now the whole road knows what takeaway you had on Saturday night.
8. What’s that smell?
Foxes stink, they have a very strong musky smell which comes from scent glands at the base of their tail. Or brush, as it’s known. As in Basil. Boom, boom!
9. Home sweet home
Foxes normally live underground in a burrow but can also live above in a cosy hollow.
Urban foxes will make the best of their surroundings, living under your shed, in your garage or under your decking.
10. The population is growing
The urban fox has become so successful that some estimates put the population in London at as many as 28 foxes per square mile.
11. They can be mean
Foxes have been known to kill for fun, by getting into a chicken run and killing all the birds but taking none for food. If you keep chickens, you spend your life worrying about a visit from foxy – and your savings on wire to try to keep him out.
12. Not as timid as they used to be
As urban foxes have become more used to living amongst us humans, they’ve become braver. Every year, there are scary news stories of foxes entering houses and attacking humans…
13. The hunt’s off!
Fox-hunting as a sport originated in the 16th century but was banned in 2005.
Trained foxhounds escorted by huntsmen on horses would follow the fox’s scent until it either escaped or was caught and killed by the dogs.
And finally, our favourite fox joke…
A man at the cinema notices what looks like a fox sitting next to him.
‘Are you a fox?’ he asks, surprised.
‘What are you doing at the pictures?!’
The fox replies, ‘Well, I liked the book…’