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How Do Grey Fox Families Live?

Grey foxes typically live six to eight years in the wild but can live up to 12 years in captivity. It is common for grey foxes to live in family groups that consist of a male, a female, and their young. The male is known as the dog fox, the female is known as a vixen, and the babies are known as pups, kits, or cubs. Grey foxes are monogamous, so they are very selective when it comes to choosing their life-long mate.

What Is Their Life Cycle?

Grey foxes reproduce once a year during the breeding season, which takes place in January and February. After about 53 days of pregnancy, the mother gives birth to one to seven pups, with an average litter size of three to four pups. Baby foxes are born a dark brown color and their average birth weight is only three ounces. They are born blind and do not open their eyes for the first time until about two weeks later.

Both the male and the female take care of their young, living as a family unit. The male provides food for the female and the young, while the female keeps the young sheltered in the den. Pups are weaned when they are about four weeks old, and it is near this time that they eat their first solid food. Grey fox babies are particularly playful, chewing on objects they find and play fighting with their siblings. At four months of age, grey foxes are taught to hunt. Grey foxes are ready to leave their parents and become independent when they become sexually mature at about 10 months old.

How Do Grey Foxes Communicate?

The Urocyon cinereoargenteus is usually a quiet animal, but when it is vocal, it will bark, growl, snarl, squeal, and screech. The harsh-sounding screech grey foxes emit is probably the most identifiable sound this species makes. The biggest form of communication between foxes, however, is by scent. They can distinguish individual foxes by the smell of their scent glands. Grey foxes also rely on their scent when it comes to attracting a potential mate. Thirdly, these animals can claim their territory by marking it with their scent, just as domesticated dogs do.

How Do Grey Foxes Spend Their Time?

As nocturnal animals, grey foxes typically leave their den at twilight to hunt at night. When a grey fox is not searching for prey, it is under cover avoiding danger in its den, in woods and brush, or in a tree. This is a description of how animals in this species spend their days. However, they are willing to hunt during the day when it is necessary, and they will also enjoy sunbathing when the weather is cold. Grey foxes do not hibernate during the winter, but instead, remain active throughout the year.

For more information, see the References and Further Reading page.