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Foxes in Arizona [Types, Habitat, Diet..]

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red fox

Foxes are well-known for their sly cunning and resourcefulness. Despite this, they have generally been overlooked in Arizona; however, the species is scattered across the state. Foxes in Arizona come in various sizes, colours, and breeds. Foxes can often be seen scavenging near roadsides or exploring urban environments as they search for whatever food sources they can find. Fox populations have even been spotted living in close proximity to humans throughout the state. 

Types of Foxes in Arizona

There are 3 types of foxes in Arizona as below:

  • Grey fox 
  • Kit fox 
  • Red fox
foxes in arizona

Habitat

Foxes in Arizona live in a variety of habitats, ranging from desert caves to mountainous terrain. Foxes make their homes in burrows that they either build or take over from other animals; they are primarily nocturnal, so their activity is mostly seen at sunset or dawn. Foxes also often make use of existing den sites and other natural above-ground shelters like rock piles, hollow trees and the base of large cacti. Fox species commonly found in Arizona include the red fox, grey fox and kit fox. These animals love roaming around deserts, plains, grasslands and brushy areas 

Diet

Foxes in the wild have incredibly varied and balanced diets, subsisting mostly on small mammals such as voles, rabbits, and moles. They also hunt birds, lizards, frogs, and fish; their diet during the winter changes to include more scavenged carrion or refuse sources.

They also have a preferred diet of other small animals living in or near water sources or burrows, foxes enjoy fruits and vegetables like apples or raspberries. Foxes are also adept at being opportunistic feeders; they’ll quickly take advantage of any available food source they can find. Their omnivorous diet allows them to sustain themselves over a wide range of ecosystems while they search for prey that is not only nutrient-rich but also provides enough calories to maintain their metabolisms.

fox family

Colour

Foxes in Arizona come in a variety of interesting colours, such as red, grey, and black. Interestingly, Foxes in Arizona do not come in white like Foxes found elsewhere in the United States. Instead, they typically have shades ranging from light tan to orange-red and they blend perfectly into their natural environment. Fox coats feature a mixture of white-tipped guard hairs that contrast sharply with their sleek shiny undercoats. Foxes living in Arizona especially benefit from having coats that can absorb and reflect heat ensuring that they remain comfortable both during the hot summers and cool winters alike.

Size, Lifespan and Weight 

Foxes in Arizona come in a range of sizes, from the North American Red Fox growing to be up to 3 feet long and weighing between 8-15 lbs or the smaller Swift Fox, which is typically less than 2 feet long and weighs an average of 6.6 lbs. Both species have a lifespan of approximately three years in the wild, though with ideal conditions they can live up to seven years. 

Predators

Foxes in Arizona face potential threats from a variety of predators, such as wolves, bobcats, bears, coyotes, cougars and hawks. Some of these animals will take advantage of a fox if it is alone or has been injured. Wolves may even form packs to hunt for larger prey like foxes. Even if foxes do escape the clutches of their pursuers, they could still fall victim to diseases that their predators spread in the environment.

fox baby

Reproduction

Foxes are fairly common in the deserts and forests of Arizona. The red fox is the most commonly seen, but grey, swift and kit foxes are all present as well. Foxes reproduce from December to mid-Spring, with females giving birth to a litter of 1-7 pups after about 50 days gestation.

Foxes in Arizona tend to have small families, sometimes consisting only of the mother and her kits. The father does not play any role in caring for the pups, although it may help protect them from staying nearby. Foxes tend to live in large family units that sometimes expand into more complex social structures.

What to do if you see a fox in your backyard?

Foxes are becoming a more common sight in backyard habitats throughout Alabama. If you are fortunate enough to spot one of these elusive creatures, it is important to remember that they can be both helpful and a potential menace. Foxes can help to reduce populations of small rodents, but they will also target birds, or even livestock if given the chance.

It is best to respect its presence by making sure the fox feels safe and secure, yet keeping a respectful distance so that neither party becomes stressed or fearful. If there are pets or children nearby, take them inside until the fox passes on through.

fox on rock

Can you shoot fox in Arizona?

Foxes are an important species in Arizona ecosystems, but unfortunately, hunting regulations do not always reflect this truth. Foxes can legally be hunted with a hunting license during certain parts of the year; however, possessing a fur-bearing license is necessary if you plan to shoot them.

Are there foxes in Arizona?

Yes, there are. 

Yes, but you need to get a licence from regulatory authorities

References:

https://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_coyote_new.php

https://www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/predator/foxes

https://www.arizonahighways.com/classroom/gray-fox

https://www.southwestwildlife.org/resident-animals/fox/kit-fox.html

Author Profile
Zahra Makda
Wildlife Enthusiast | Explorer at Animals Research

Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.

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