Adventures In Fox Watching

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June 2, 2012 at 1:57pm
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Red Foxes Across The World

Red foxes are the most successful carnivores on earth, and have managed to colonize most of the worlds continents. From arctic tundra to deserts, mountains to urban streets, the red fox is able to adapt to live in any conditions, and it’s this, along with their adaptable diet and high intelligence, is what makes them so successful.

Because of the range of environments they inhabit, their size, anatomy and appearance also varies greatly from location to location. Here’s just a few examples of how much the species can vary;

1. North America
The North American variety is larger and heavier then it’s European cousins. These foxes have long, incredibly soft fur, especially those living across their northern range. The colors are usually quite rich and even across the body, (sometimes referred to as cherry red), with a darker grey tail. Silver and cross varieties are also quite common in American foxes.
2. Great Britain
The British red fox is a smaller animal, which is just as happy in the middle of town as it is out in rural areas. The color is usually duller then the American variety, with plenty of frosting, (white hairs), over the back-end. The leg markings aren’t as pronounced as on some other types, and they often have black, rather then white tail tips. Even in winter, the fur doesn’t get anything like as long as on those foxes from more northerly areas.
3. Continental Europe
Essentially the same as the British variety, with a few minor differences, such as the spacing of the teeth. European foxes often sport a lot of grey in their coats, (I actually refer to this color as European grey, as it’s so common here!) Yellow coloration is also quite common in these foxes. The fur on European foxes has a much courser texture then that of the American variety.
4. Scandinavia
Another European form, foxes from Scandinavia have much longer, thicker coats to help them cope with the harsher winters. In color, the body and tail are a pale cream, with a ginger face and legs. This coloration is also quite common in Italian foxes, and foxes from arctic areas such as Alaska.
5. Arabian Peninsula
Arabian foxes are desert-dwellers, meaning they require a very short, close coat, and extremely large ears to help them keep cool in the heat. The coat is a sandy color to help them blend into their desert home.
6. India
The Indian red fox is often better known as the white-footed or desert fox. This is a very small sub-species, which isn’t dissimilar to the Arabian fox, sporting a short, sandy-colored coat.
7. Russia
Russian foxes often have a very warm and even-colored red coats, with super-thick fur to protect them during the harsh Siberian winters.
8. Japan
Red foxes from Japan are quite dull-colored animals, and usually lack the dark leg-markings typical in many other types. I believe the Chinese variety is also very similar in appearance

This is only a small selection of the variety that exists within red foxes. Even within individual countries there tends to be a fair bit of variation between foxes from specific areas. Wikipedia has a good section describing many of these varieties and sub-species. 

Photos by Vic Sharratt and Bertie Gregory, (top row) || Menno Schaefer and Martin Garner (second row) || Dave Clark and Nancy Bell (third row) || Igor Shpilenok and nike.cocolog-nifty.com,(bottom row)

Notes

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    American foxes look so fluffy though, holy shit.