Home Animals Foxes in South Carolina (Types, Habitat, Diet..)

Foxes in South Carolina (Types, Habitat, Diet..)

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grey fox
Gray Fox, 3/4 shot standing facing left

South Carolina is home to several species of foxes. The most common are the grey fox, which is known for its sharp hearing and agility, and the red fox noted for its striking russet fur. Foxes in South Carolina lead a mostly nocturnal life, making their home in both kinds of wood and heavily populated areas. Despite their presence, some people may never get the chance to see a South Carolina fox as they are elusive creatures who keep their distance from humans. 

foxes in south carolina

Are there Foxes in South Carolina

Foxes in South Carolina may not be an often seen sight but surprisingly, the state does have a fox population. They have adapted well to living amongst humans and can easily be found in various towns around the state.

Types of Foxes in South Carolina

There are four different types of foxes that can be found in South Carolina.

  • Red Fox
  • Gray Fox
  • Cross Fox
  • Bat-eared Fox

The red Fox in South Carolina is believed to be the most widely distributed mammal in the world and can be seen throughout this southern state. The grey fox is also common here, but smaller than its red counterpart. The rarer of the four species found in South Carolina is the ascendent (or cross) fox and the bat-eared fox. While both of these types need special habitats, they still inhabit some areas of the Palmetto State.

fox in snow

Habitat

South Carolina’s diverse landscape offers a wide array of habitat choices for foxes. They can be found in the hardwood forests, shrublands and wetlands that provide both food and shelter. Many marshes and lowland areas exist within the state, both of which are excellent habitats for foxes due to their abundant food supplies. Foxes also take advantage of agricultural fields, particularly at night when there is less disturbance from humans. During summer months, forested regions offer foxes more protection from the heat and predators like bears, wolves and coyotes. 

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.

Foxes in South Carolina 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.

fox in open

Colour

South Carolina foxes come in a variety of colours. Usually, they range from rusts, browns, and oranges. However, some rare specimens have distinctive shades of black or white fur with silver tips. Of course as with any animal the type of habitat that it lives in will affect what colour its coat will eventually be. Foxes living near coastal areas tend to have lighter coats than those living further inland most likely as a way to protect themselves better from the elements and predators. 

Size, Lifespan and Weight 

In South Carolina, foxes can weigh as much as 15 pounds and live up to 12 years in the wild; however, this also depends on the type of fox present in the area. The Red Fox is the most common species found in South Carolina and they often weigh an average of 10 pounds. Grey foxes are slightly smaller than Red foxes with a maximum lifespan of eight years while the tiny Fennec Fox typically only reaches two or three pounds at the full-grown size. 

Predators

Foxes in South Carolina 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.

fox sleeping

Reproduction

In the southeastern state, foxes typically reproduce between mid to late winter, with the gestational period lasting roughly 53 days. During this period, female red foxes can give birth to anywhere from 1-10 kits to continue building their population numbers. In order to ensure even greater reproduction success, they often avoid human contact and find cover amongst dense brush and shrubs. Foxes in South Carolina make sure to have plenty of space so they can produce ready-to-survive offspring that are well-adapted for living on their own in the wilds of South Carolina.

While foxes may be kept as pets in certain parts of the U.S., South Carolina is not one of them. In South Carolina, it’s against the law to keep any wild animal as a pet, including foxes. However, depending on their species they may be legally kept if they have been bred in captivity and if the property owner has a permit from the Department of Natural Resource or Department of Agriculture. 

References:

https://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/publications/nuisance/foxes.pdf

https://theartfulfox.tumblr.com/post/119459443552/state-laws-south-carolina-revised

https://coastalreview.org/2021/09/gray-red-foxes-and-coyotes-know-your-coastal-canids/

https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article252875358.html

https://columbiametro.com/article/one-fox-two-fox/

https://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/species/grayfox.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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