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Red Fox | Highland Titles Reserve Rascals

Written by: Hamish
Published: 26th January 2015

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This is part of the Reserve Rascals series: a celebration of the vast number of species we have cohabiting the Highland Titles Nature Reserve.

The next animal to feature in our Highland Titles Reserve Rascals series is the crafty red fox. Red foxes are the most widespread wild canines and, much like the roe deer, it isn’t a surprise that you’ll find them on the Glencoe Estate.

One of the most fascinating characteristics of the red fox is their ability to live in very urbanised areas. Red foxes, in general, are very adaptable and can survive in most territories, climates and habitats. They have become so adept at surviving by eating human rubbish that they have a strong immune system and very rarely get sick.

The Highland Titles red fox

highland titles reserve rascals - red fox Download the image here (or right-click and save image)

Scale

Please note that we’ve picked these numbers based on how the red fox behaves on the Highland Titles estate.

Red Fox
Food Chain 65 1–100 (1 being bottom of the food chain)
Rarity 1 1–10 (10 being very rare)
Mischief 2 1–10 (1 being very mischievous)
Ferocity 87 1–100 (100 being very ferocious)
Lifespan 5 Typical lifespan of the animal in years

Advice from the expert

Stuart, our head volunteer at the nature reserve, is rather fond of the little red foxes. Here is his advice for identifying them:

“The red fox is dapper, widespread and can be active by day, so you’ve got a better chance of seeing red fox than some other medium-sized predators in Scotland. Stay alert for fox sightings anywhere from lowland loch shores to the heights of a mountain. 

“If you see an orange-red creature, bigger than a larger cat and with a long tail, moving in daylight across a field or hill, it could be a red fox. Check through binoculars to see the long muzzle, upright ears and white fur on the throat and neck. Also look for conspicuous droppings (often grey-tinged and with small mammal bones in them) on tracks.

Another way to tempt a red fox into sight is the offer of food. Red foxes are very much food-orientated and are always keen to fill their bellies.

They’re not fussy eaters either!

You might have guessed this already, considering they are able to survive on human rubbish. Foxes eat a huge variety of foods and they have a predominantly omnivorous diet eating whatever fruits, berries, shrubs and herbs they can find. They wouldn’t pass on a delicious invertebrate either: crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers and beetles are all found within a red fox’s diet.

red fox eating

 

The food that provides the most sustenance, however, are the birds and small mammals that feature in their diet: squirrels, rabbits and mice are the favourites. Even more favourable then mice are young lambs; red fox are known to ferociously kidnap young lambs, much to the chagrin of the farmers! I guess you can’t be picky when you’ve got such a short lifespan anyway – no point wasting it by starving.

Sightings of red foxes on the Highland Titles Nature Reserve

This sighting is a particularly special one. Red foxes are very agile and don’t tend to stick around long so to have one sitting munching on its food, so relaxed, is pretty amazing!

Learn more about the Highland Titles Reserve Rascals!

For more videos of the red foxes and other animals living on the Highland Titles Nature Reserve check out our Facebook page, or find more from our Reserve Rascals series here.


About the author

Written by: Hamish


Comments on this post

  • Kate
    06/02/15 - 18:12

    Hi just read ur info about red foxes. I live in an urban area in Ireland and have been plagued with foxes 2 adults and 4 cubs which have been loving behind hedges in my garden. They really have been a nucience as they dig into the lawn and smell. Any suggestions regards Kate

  • Thursa Wilde
    10/03/15 - 15:24

    Hi Kate, sorry to hear of your troubles with foxes. (Send them here!). There is an informative article on humane ways to discourage foxes in inconvenient places. You can access it on this link:
    http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/foxes/tips/solving_problems_with_foxes.html

    I liked the idea of party balloons as a deterrent! Good luck with it 🙂

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