Gray Fox: (Urocyon cincereoargenteus)
Gary fox (urocyon cincereoargenteus) is a member of the canidea family. They average in size between 30 to 44 inches long and weigh between 8 to 15 pounds. Although the males are usually larger than the females.
The gray foxes face, sides, back and tail consist of a gray color. Its under parts are white and the sides of the neck and underside of the tail are a rusty – yellow color. The fur along the middle of its back and tail are tipped in black, almost looking like they have a black mange. Its tail is long and bushy. Their faces resemble a dog, but they have a longer muzzle. Gray foxes have little red fur, but are commonly mistaken for the red fox. Gray foxes are found throughout most of the United States including Florida, however you will not find them in the northern plains or the Rockies. Their preferred habitats that are located in heavily bushy wooded areas that are inaccessible.
Gray foxes are mainly solitary hunters; that hunt at night as they are nocturnal. Their primary diet consists of mice, rats and rabbits. They also consume all types of small birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, fruits, berries, insects and some carrion (dead animals).
The gray fox is sometimes called the tree fox because they can climb trees quickly. They are the only member of the dog family capable of climbing trees. Gray foxes are rarely seen as apposed to the red fox due to their reclusive nature and nocturnal habits. While hunting or for protection they will climb trees and leap or jump from branch to branch in an attempt to capture its prey or protect itself from prey. It also sounds similar to the red fox only they bark and yelp less often and not as loud as the red foxes do. They are not dangerous to humans as they are hardly ever seen; but they would rather flee than fight. It takes a lot for a gray fox defend itself by biting. Gray foxes do have mating limitations, studies have shown that 45% of gray foxes will have the chance to mate and produce offspring as the remaining percentage will die in its first year of life. Female gray foxes can breed as early as 6 to 9 months depending on their first heat cycle, which is in the late winter months. Gray foxes only mate once and then remain with their partner for life. Its gestation period lasts approximately 53 days. The average litter size is 3 to 5 pups. The pups are born brownish – black and have fur. Their eyes are closed leaving them blind for about 9 days. Both the male and the female are loyal parents providing food, care and training to the pups. The pups stay with their parents until late summer or fall.
Gray foxes are known to carry diseases such as distemper, parvo – virus, and in rare instances rabies. The parasites include heart – worms, lung – worms, tape – worms and round – worms which lowers their resistance to be able to fight off other infectious diseases.
Gray foxes cause little to no damage. In fact they are blamed for damage they did not cause. They avoid humans, hardly causing conflicts.