Fox (vulpes vulpes)
The red fox, with its red-brown fur, pointed ears and bushy tail, is one of the most easily recognisable wild animals in the UK. Red foxes grow to around 40cm tall at the shoulder and weigh between 5-8kg. They are found all over the UK and can survive in almost any habitat. Foxes are crepuscular, meaning they are active around dusk and dawn. However it is not unusual to see them out during the daytime.
Foxes live in family groups with one dominant male and female with their young. Some cubs will stay with the group but others will leave to find their own territory. They are opportunistic eaters feeding on cadavers, rabbits, birds, voles, eggs, earthworms, fruit and any kind of food discarded by humans.
Foxes breed once a year with both parents taking on the role of care-giver. The female normally stays with the cubs while the male searches for and brings back food. The cubs that do leave the family normally do so at around seven months old.
Should you come across a fox that has been hit in the road, is sick or caught in a snare, please get advice and help before attempting to approach the animal as it may scare easily causing more injuries – it could also give you a nasty bite.
If you have no option but to pick the fox up, you will need thick leather gloves a decent sized cage and a thick towel. Try to pick it up by the scruff of the neck but also use your other hand to support its body weight. Place it in the basket and cover with the towel to alleviate stress. Take the animal immediately to your local wildlife rescue centre or your nearest veterinary practice. If travelling in a vehicle, please keep your radio turned off until you reach your destination.