Oregon is home to at least seven species of fox, including the red fox, kit fox, swift fox, maned wolf, and more. In Oregon, these species span from the dense coastal forests to the rolling high desert. Watching these sly creatures can be a thrilling experience for any outdoorsman in Oregon. With their signature feathery tails and blazing red fur against their surroundings, watching a fox in its natural habitat is truly something special.
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Types of Foxes in Oregon
- Red fox
- Kit fox
- Swift fox
Foxes in Oregon are mainly found in forested areas. They hunt small rodents and other small animals, as well as scavenge for birds’ eggs and fruits. Foxes like to live in dens or thickets of vegetation for protection from predators such as coyotes and bears. In winter, foxes often inhabit the forests and open fields between them.
They will seek out good cover during the chillier months, looking for a dense brush, thorny patches, rocky terrain, and abandoned buildings to provide warmth during the night. During the summer months its not unusual to find a den located near a water source like a stream or lake where parents can take their kits to teach them about survival tactics like hunting prey and avoiding predators.
Foxes in the wild have incredibly varied and balanced diets, subsisting mostly on small mammals such as voles, rabbits, and moles. Foxes in Oregon 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.
Red foxes in Oregon are often white-furred with a reddish tinge on their heads and backs, though in some areas they are entirely red. Gray foxes have steel grey coats mingled with yellowish tints and black markings. The swift fox in Oregon is the smallest species and has yellowish-tan fur with subtle dark streaks. The arctic fox is uncommon but recognizable due to its strikingly pale grey-blue colour marking the face and legs.
Size, Lifespan and Weight
On average, foxes in Oregon typically measure up to 3 feet in length, weigh between 8-15 pounds and can live anywhere from 2-4 years; though some have been known to survive for 6 or more years in the wild. Foxes are highly adaptable creatures, able to live under a variety of conditions, and really thrive in new habitats created by humans such as city parks or farms.
Foxes in Oregon 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, native to Oregon reproduce twice a year. Their breeding season usually begins in late January or early February when winter is still in full swing. The females are pregnant for about two months before giving birth to a litter of kits between April and May. These newborns quickly learn to hunt and share the food their parents bring to the den. Most of them will grow up to be independent by their first fall.
Are there foxes in Portland, Oregon?
Yes, they are found throughout Oregon as per ODFW
Pet Foxes in Oregon
Owning a pet fox may seem like an out-of-this-world concept, but in Oregon, it’s been a reality since 2013 when the state legislature passed a law that allowed this unique animal to be kept as a domestic pet. There are numerous restrictions on owning and caring for a pet fox in Oregon, including ensuring they’ve been vaccinated against rabies, staying current with their vet visits, and registering your pet before you bring them home.
Are Foxes Legal To Own in Oregon
Owning a fox in the state of Oregon is legal in certain circumstances. Before considering such an endeavour, it is important to first become informed about restrictions and safety requirements for owning a fox in Beaver State. In most areas, it is against the law to own any species of a wild fox, so owners must ensure that their pet is one of the domesticated varieties. Local county ordinances may have further regulations on keeping wild animals as pets and other requirements must also be met in order to own a fox legally in Oregon.
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.