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Red Fox

Mississippi State Land Mammal 2

Red fox pup; photo by Hal Korber / Pennsylvania Game Commission: PGC Public Photo Gallery (educational use permitted with attribution).

Official Mammal Symbol of Mississippi

Mississippi designated the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) as an official mammal symbol of the state in 1997 (the white-tailed deer and bottlenose dolphin are also mammal symbols of Mississippi; both were adopted in 1974). All State Mammals

A member of the canidae family (includes the wolf, coyote and domestic dog), the red fox is an integral part of our environment and plays an important role in rodent and insect control, as well as seed dispersal. Red foxes are omnivorous, eating a variety of animals and plants (depending on what's available). The bulk of the red fox's diet consists of small mammals, birds, fruits, and insects. Plant foods eaten by the red fox include grasses, nuts, berries, pears, apples, grapes, corn, wheat, and many other grains. They begin to forage about two hours before sunset and may continue until four hours after sunrise, travelling 6-9 miles per night.

The red fox social unit is comprised of either one male and one female and puppies, or a group consisting of one male and several females, and of course the pups. In North America the red fox is generally found as a single pair.

Foxes may dig their own den, but more often they use abandoned woodchuck or American badger burrows. Dens are prepared in late winter for the yearly spring litter of generally 5 pups. When about twelve weeks old puppies begin to explore their parents' home range independently or with an adult. By mid-September or early October the pups begin to disperse, as families maintain well defined, non-overlapping territories. Decimating factors include hunting and trapping, road kills, a variety of diseases and parasites, and predators.