Maryland is a state rich in wildlife, and foxes are one of the most beloved animal species to call them home. These clever creatures can be found in many areas throughout the state, providing endless entertainment and insight into their habits. Whether trekking through its forests or along roadsides, spotting a fox brings joy to locals and visitors alike. Maryland’s friendly but curious foxes offer onlookers an incredible opportunity to observe wildlife close up without interfering with nature’s delicate balance.
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Types of Foxes in Maryland
Maryland is home to three different types of foxes, each with unique characteristics.
- Red Fox: For starters, the Red Fox is the most familiar and populous of these critters.
- Swift Fox: The Swift Fox resides in Western Maryland and has longer legs suited for quickly zipping around.
- Gray Fox: There is also the Gray Fox which is smaller than the Red Fox and has a mask-like face.
Foxes have adapted to live in Maryland’s environment and can be found throughout the state. They prefer habitats that have plenty of dense covers for them to hide and nest, making woodlands ideal living areas. In addition, foxes enjoy wetlands, particularly those with an abundance of long grass, which makes a perfect hideaway. Foxes flourish on farmlands due to their access to small prey items as well as vegetation they can eat and hide in. Because they are so adaptable though, it’s not uncommon to spot a fox running through your backyard or across a suburban street.
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.
Foxes in the state of Maryland come in a wide range of colours. The most abundant variety of foxes is the red fox, which is often reddish-orange or brown in colour with white spots and black limbs. But there are also grey foxes, which are typically darker than the rust-coloured reds and have tan undersides. Swift foxes are another rare type, identified by their glossy fur and pungent scent.
Size, Lifespan and Weight
Foxes are amongst the most common wildlife in Maryland and they come in various sizes, with their average weight ranging from 8 to 15 pounds. Although the smallest species of fox, the red fox, has an average life span of three to four years, in Maryland some species can live as long as 10 years due to the mild climate.
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.
Foxes in Maryland have a unique method of reproduction. In late winter and early spring, foxes mate, with the female cycling through estrus several times until conception. Once a kit is conceived, gestation takes 53-68 days before the female will give birth to 2-6 kits. They are born blind, deaf, helpless and furless but in under 8 weeks, they will open their eyes for the first time and venture outside of the den for an adventure. The parents take turns bringing food to the kits and by early fall the young foxes will have left their families to establish their own territories.
Are Foxes Legal in Maryland
In Maryland, the regulations regarding foxes can be confusing as they vary by county. While certain species of foxes in other states may be legal to own as a pet, in Maryland, there is no general law that permits or forbids foxes. It is important to check with the local Animal Control office or contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for further details about keeping a fox in your area.
When can you trap foxes in Maryland?
In Maryland, foxes can be trapped during the winter and fall months, subject to local county regulations. Depending on the county, you might need a permit in order to trap a fox; however, certain trapping techniques are allowed without one. It’s important to note that trappers must abide by certain regulations as outlined in state trapping laws, such as bag limits, methods of capture, season dates, and daily times when traps may be set.
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.