Invasive Species Initiative

Categories: Invasive Species

You may have heard of the red fox. Maybe you’ve heard its scientific name, Vulpes vulpes. Obviously, the red fox is a mammal and an omnivore. Its life span lasts from 2 to 4 years. Just like its name, this fox has a beautiful red fur coat. The red fox has earned its reputation for being smart and clever. The red fox also lives in many different places like forests, deserts, grasslands, and/or mountains.

The red fox hunts alone. According to National Geographic, “Red foxes are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as their home habitat.

Foxes will eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms. If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically dine on garbage and pet food.” So, if they were taken in by humans, they would adapt and eat just like our pets would.

A fun fact about the red fox is that they also act similarly to our dogs.

For example, according to National Geographic, “ Foxes also signal each other by making scent posts—urinating on trees or rocks to announce their presence. ” Just like the red fox, dogs pee on trees to mark territory.

Just like any other living organism, they breed. In the winter, they meet with other foxes. The female red fox called the Vixen would normally give birth to a group of 2-12 babies. At birth, the baby foxes are usually gray or brown. But, of course, after some time their red coat grows in.

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According to National Geographic, “ A new red coat usually grows in by the end of the first month, but some red foxes are golden, reddish-brown, silver, or even black. Both parents care for their young through the summer before they are able to strike out on their own in the fall.”

Sadly though, red foxes are hunted down for sport but other times they are killed for being disruptive and/or carrying rabies.

The red fox was originally from Europe and then was intentionally introduced to Australia. Eventually, the species spread over to eastern America. You can say it was intentional because it would be pretty obvious for a species to spread. So the people that introduced the red fox to Australia most likely knew that it would spread to other places in the world.

According to the website Invasive Species Initiative, “Known for their luscious red coats, European red foxes were intentionally introduced in Australia in the 1850s for recreational hunting and have since spread across most of the continent. They were also introduced in the eastern United States and can be found throughout the country.”

Their food web goes something like this:

The red fox is the consumer in its food web. Its life span is normally 2-5 years.

The main effect of the red fox is that they kill off most species until it is a threatened or endangered species. According to the website Invasive Species Initiative, “ In North America red foxes pose a great threat to ground-nesting birds such as duck and grouse. This is all in addition to being a threat to poultry, small farm animals, and children.”

The native species like the rodent and marsupial species have been affected by the red fox. For example, in the website Invasive Species Initiative, “In Australia, red foxes have decimated populations of native rodent and marsupial species. One study showed that the removal of red foxes greatly increased numbers of the near-threatened black-footed rock-wallaby, indicating foxes had a negative impact on their populations.”

There are ways to control the red fox species but they are considerably pricey.

According to the website Invasive Species Initiative, “The most commonly used method is fox baiting, which involves setting baits with 1080 poison.”

Even though these methods do seem to work, they can be very expensive and difficult to do. For example, “ This has relatively successful results, but it costs $1.3 million to bait an area of 35,000 sq km in size for a year. Exclusionary fencing helps keep foxes out of unwanted areas, but that is pricy too — about $10,000 per km.”

It isn’t easy to remove a species from an area once they have multiplied and keep multiplying. Sadly, you can’t just tell a species to leave and area because of it’s bad effects because it simply won’t care at all.

There are many methods to try to control the red fox species. For example, baiting, Canid Pest Ejectors, fencing, shooting, trapping, guard animals, and lastly habitat manipulation.

Adding on to this, according to the website, Department Of Primary Industries, it states, “Reducing the impact of the red fox relies on a mixture of control techniques comprising poison baiting, shooting, trapping, fencing, and guard animals.”

But, no matter how many methods there are, they still don’t work. For example, from the same website above, “All these techniques have a short term effect on local fox numbers. No single control method will be successful on its own and when foxes are removed from an area, reinvasion or immigration from existing untreated areas generally occurs within 2 to 6 weeks.” This all means that even though they have different techniques to try to get rid of foxes, they don’t always work, and when they do, the foxes simply reappear again.


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Invasive Species Initiative. (2022, Apr 22). Retrieved from

Invasive Species Initiative
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