Home Animals Foxes in Maine (Types, Habitat, Diet..)

Foxes in Maine (Types, Habitat, Diet..)

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Foxes have made a home in Maine, both inspiring curiosity and awe. The presence of these red, grey and black creatures in our woods has captivated Mainers for centuries. Many of us that grew up here were taught to leave foxes in peace – a trait which distinguishes Maine from many places across the country. Whether you live in rural or urban areas, chances are you will encounter a fox at some point during your life in Maine. Consequently, it is important to understand their characteristics and how to safely interact with them. Through this article, learn about the majestic foxes of Maine and how we can make the home one that offers them security and safety.

foxes in maine

Are There Foxes in Maine

Maine is home to an impressive variety of wildlife, and one of the animals that may surprise some people is the fox. Although they can be hard to spot, foxes are quite common throughout Maine, with the red fox being a native species and the grey fox having been introduced toward the end of the 19th century. The areas around Biddeford and Sanford are particularly known for having sightings of these beautiful creatures.

Types of Foxes in Maine

In Maine, you can find one of three different types of foxes: 

  • Red foxes
  • Grey foxes
  • Arctic foxes. 

Red foxes are the most populous species in the state, while grey foxes are found mostly in the southern part of Maine. Arctic foxes, on the other hand, prefer the colder north-eastern part and can often be seen living amongst evergreen forests and snow-scattered hills.

fox family

Habitat

Maine provides varied terrain featuring elevated areas called hills, ridges, or mountains as well as lower marshlands creating the perfect habitat for multiple species of foxes to thrive. Foxes usually seek shelter in dens located in stacks of rocks, logs, hollow trees or stumps, the sides of banks or cliffs, and occasionally in caves.

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 preferred diets 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.

Colour

Foxes in Maine show a variety of beautiful colours in their fur because of their adaptations to the surrounding environment. The most common looks for Maine foxes include an orange-red coat, which can be quite striking against the backdrop of the lush greenery of Maine’s rolling hills. Also colour variation, the coats of Maine foxes often feature white patches and grey highlights, creating an overall unique look. These remarkable colourations have allowed them to blend in with their surroundings and hide from predators, making them one of the most adaptive species of mammals in the state. 

fox on rock

Size, Lifespan and Weight 

Foxes in Maine typically reach a length of 16 to 20 inches (41 to 51 cm), with tail lengths of 8.7 to 12.8 inches (22 to 32.5 cm). They have an average lifespan of three years, depending on their environment and the presence of predators. The average weight of foxes found in Maine is between six and thirteen pounds (2.7-6 kg). Males usually weigh more than females, but sometimes the difference can be hard to spot by size alone; however, both genders are known for their thick, bushy tails that make them easily distinguishable from other animals. 

Predators

Foxes are skilful and resourceful hunters, but they too can be vulnerable in the wild. They 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.

Reproduction

Reproduction among foxes in Maine is a unique and fascinating process. During mating season, the monogamous foxes seek out partners by howling and yelping together, which functions as a sort of courtship song. The mother fox will then choose from her mate’s offered den to give birth to her new litter of cubs– typically three or four. From there, the father fox will provide food for the family all summer, often making long trips from their home to find enough sustenance for his loved ones. At around six weeks the cubs will begin leaving the den with their parents to explore their new environment and hone skills like hunting. 

fox on hill

Can I have a fox in Maine?

Yes, It is legal to own foxes in Maine.

What time of year foxes in Maine is most active?

Foxes are most active during the summer months when they have an abundance of food sources due to the warmer climate. A fox’s daily schedule involves finding food and then resting in a safe location during the day, with more activity taking place at night when they search for food. 

References:

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/what-do-about-foxes

https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fish-wildlife/wildlife/species-information/mammals/foxes.html

https://wildlifehelp.org/animals/maine/fox

https://townline.org/scores-outdoors-red-foxes-are-abundant-and-widespread-in-all-16-maine-counties/

https://www.nrcm.org/blog/critter-chatter/gray-fox-class-of-its-own/

https://maineanencyclopedia.com/red-fox/

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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