What Does a Red Fox Eat?

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Red foxes, which are omnivores, eat a wide variety of animal life but prefer small rodents such as mice, voles, hamsters, gerbils, gophers and woodchucks. They also hunt and eat opossums, raccoons, rabbits, birds, reptiles and insects. When meat is scarce, they supplement their diet with plant matter such as berries, fruit, grass and tubers. Around human habitations, they also feed on pet food and garbage.

In addition to their usual prey, red foxes sometimes attack young ungulates such as deer fawns. They are also not averse to raiding farms and ranches for domestic poultry such as chickens. Sometimes they feed on carrion.

Red foxes typically hunt in late evening and early morning. They locate small rodents by sound and then leap upon them from up to 15 feet away. Once they have made a kill, they are possessive of their catch and defend it even against larger animals. They have also been known to indulge in surplus killing, slaughtering far more prey than they could possibly eat. Because this can impact the populations of both domestic and wild game birds, their numbers are controlled in some areas. Usually red foxes hunt alone, but in areas rich in resources, they sometimes travel in groups.