A color variation of the red fox, black foxes may be completely black, have a pattern of black extending across the shoulders and down the back, or they may simply by gray with black tipped fur.
1. Scientific & Common Names
4. Present Status
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Carnivora
Suborder - Caniformia
Family - Canidae
Genus - Vulpes
Species - V. vulpes
Common Names - Male foxes are often called dogs, and female foxes are called vixen. Their pups are termed kits. Black foxes are frequently called silver foxes, since the black fur on their hindquarters is often tipped with silver.
With dog-like bodies, foxes may be 31 to 44 inches long including the tail. They may weigh between 7 and 13 pounds. Two distinguishing characteristics of foxes are their thick, bushy tails and large, pointed ears. They have narrow muzzles and luxurious coats. Black foxes are a genetic variation of red foxes. Black foxes may be completely black, or they may be silver or gray with black-tipped fur. Foxes are more likely to be black as small kits, and as they grow older, their fur grows in the typical red-brown coloration. Black foxes typically have white tipped tails.
Foxes mate in late winter, and the female gives birth to a litter of 4 to 10 pups after a gestation period of about 50 days. Usually, only one litter of kits is raised each year.
In many places, foxes are considered nuisances. They are scavengers, tearing through trash and sometimes preying on the hens of chicken farmers. While foxes are omnivores, the bulk of their diets in the wild often consist of small rodents, insects, amphibians, and birds. Foxes do not hunt in packs, but they do live in small groups together. They raise their families in dens, and they are mostly nocturnal. Foxes use their sharp eyesight and excellent hearing to track down prey. Foxes are common both in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
In medieval Europe, black foxes were thought to be a bad omen. However, when the fur trade was established, black fox fur was in high demand in Europe; therefore, black foxes became more and more unusual starting in the 1800s. In North America, black foxes were not hunted as widely as in Europe, so they are historically more common there than in Europe.
While black foxes are fairly rare in Europe, they are much more common in the United States. In fact, in North America, 1 in 5 foxes are black.