Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Red Fox


  • The red fox is the second-smallest native member of the wild dog family in Alberta.
  • Adults weigh from three to five kilograms (roughly 7 to 11 pounds).


  • Characteristic features include:
    • Slim, graceful build
    • Coat of dense fur
    • Long legs
    • Long, pointed nose
    • Fluffy tail which is as long as the body and tipped with white
  • Although normally reddish in colour, there are two other common colour phases:
    • Cross - generally red with black markings on the back that form a patch or cross
    • Silver – overall, black with white-tipped hairs.
  • All three colour phases may occur in a single litter.
  • The red fox is a fairly common resident of the following Alberta life zones:
    • Alpine (occasionally)
    • Foothill
    • Mixedwood
    • Montane
    • Parkland
  • This fox also occurs in irrigation districts in the prairie zone.
Natural History


  • Areas of patchy bush interspersed with openings are preferred red fox habitat.


  • Though mice are the primary prey, the diet may also include:
    • Birds
    • Eggs
    • Fruit
    • Grass
    • Insects
    • Other small mammals

When Active

  • Since the red fox is a wary animal and hunts at night, it is seldom seen.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mating occurs in March.
  • In May, four to nine pups are born in a den.

Growth Process

  • Family units hunt together until the fall, but throughout the winter foxes are generally solitary.
Conservation and Management


The red fox is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Specific season information is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:

Similar Species
  • Swift Fox
    The swift fox can be most easily distinguished from the much more common red fox by its grey back, black spots on each side of the muzzle, and especially its black-tipped tail.


Page Information

Updated: Feb 26, 2010