Vulpes vulpes

The cunning of this chicken-coop troublemaker can be sensed in his gaze, and is beyond any doubt. Its small size forces it to resort to intelligence to survive.

All the images of this common fox specimen were taken on a winter day in 2010, in the Sierra de Enguera, while accompanying Pastor Miguel along the Vereda Real de Almansa, between the Altos de Salomón, the Altos de la Diabla and the Casa of Matea. The fox followed us late in the afternoon, and during much of the journey he gave me a series of unforgettable snapshots.

The common fox, Vulpes vulpes, is a cunning and intelligent Iberian mammal that inhabits our fields and mountains. Although they are relatively abundant, they suffer from hunting pressure from man, which has made this solitary animal very cautious, elusive and elusive, making it difficult to surprise, since its suspicious nature forces them to avoid risks.

t measures around a meter in length and its height at the withers is about 40 cm, with a weight that ranges between five and eight kilos. With a long tail, elongated snout and prominent, pointed ears that make it easily recognizable. Its limbs are elongated, with rather small feet. Their eyes have an almond-shaped color that ranges from orange to golden yellow tones with a vertical pupil. Its most common coat in nature is reddish brown, with the tips of the ears and the ends of the legs black, with a bushy tail whose tip is white like its belly. This red hue can vary from reddish brown to orange-red, although there are individuals who are totally or partially melanistic, almost black, ocher or gray in color.

It is lonely. He lives in a permanent pair or in groups of one male and two or three females, related to each other and with a pre-established hierarchy. 

Mating takes place in winter (December-January) and the young – between 1 and 7 – are born around April or May, after a gestation of about 50 days. The puppies are born blind and with a uniform dark brown coat. Breastfeeding lasts about five weeks. In early spring the foxes will leave the burrow, where they will begin a period of learning from their parents. After spending the summer in the company of their mother, with the arrival of autumn, the young foxes become independent and move away from their father’s territory so as not to enter into competition.

The fox is an opportunist, whose diet is based on those resources that are most abundant or easiest to obtain at a given time. Is omnivore. It feeds on insects, bird eggs, birds, dormice, voles, mice, reptiles, amphibians, hares, rabbits, and human waste. But in times of scarcity they also feed on fruits, of which grapes are their favorites. In autumn it feeds basically on wild berries.

Its long and bushy tail, which it usually carries in a horizontal position, is part of its iconic image. It measures approximately one third of its total length. He uses it for a multitude of tasks: as a pillow when he sleeps, to protect himself from solar radiation, to communicate or to scare away insects. It also helps you maintain balance when you run or jump. Its distinctive white tip helps us quickly identify it and distinguish it from other canids.

During the winter it will take refuge in caves, which it will arrange to its liking.

It is a silent and very cautious animal, which hunts especially at night, with peaks of activity near dawn and dusk. Their daytime activity is usually greater in less frequented areas and especially when the nights are short. In Spain it is found from sea level to high mountains (up to 3,000 m altitude). Diverse and fragmented habitats favor it more than homogeneous ones.

Published by

Leave a comment