FROM THE FAMOUS FOX: DELVING INTO DIET & LIFESPAN

Hi friends! Reef the fox here with another weekly edition of “Reef’s Report.” I received my first piece of fan mail last week and I am so excited to share it with you and answer all the great questions that were asked.

“Reef, I love your column in the Upper Keys Weekly! I would like to know what foxes eat and how much? Also do you mate for life? What is a typical fox lifespan both in the wild and in captivity? Why do they call you a red fox if you are not red? I’ve seen your videos and you seem to get the zoomies from time to time just like my dog. Are dogs and foxes related? Do you sleep in a den? How do you handle the heat with all that fur?” – Pamela

Hi Pamela! So many great questions so I’ll get to answering them. All of the foxes I live with eat a combination of raw meat, fruits and vegetables. Our mom gives us a diet that would mimic what we might find if we were wild foxes. We eat about 5% of our body weight, so mom portions everything out accordingly. We don’t eat pork or beef though. 

It has been documented that red fox species do mate for life in the wild. But since none of the foxes here are able to mate/have babies, we are all just friends for life. As far as my lifespan goes, since I live in an amazing home and get a proper diet and veterinary care, I can live 10-15 years. In the wild, due to natural predators, disease etc.… foxes have a lifespan of 3-5 years. 

Even though I am not red in color, I am a red fox species. Foxes don’t have breeds like dogs do; we are all species specific animals. My fur color wouldn’t show up in the wild because it was man-made on a fur farm through generations of cross-breeding foxes to produce different colors. There are over 70 man-made colors of red foxes now that have come from fur farming. 

I do, indeed, get the zoomies. But my zoomies can clock speeds of 30 mph. As far as foxes and dogs being related, yes, we are. Foxes and dogs are members of the same animal family, canidae, but then the relation stops there. While dogs are domesticated members of the Canis genus, foxes belong to several, non-canis genus. So I am like a dog’s distant cousin. 

If you’ve seen my photos and videos on social media then you know my “den” is my mom’s bed and in front of the air conditioner. I also like to sleep under mom’s bed, so I guess that is kind of a den. I, and all of the other foxes here, handle the heat just fine. Red foxes are actually native to Florida, so in the wild they have naturally adapted to the heat, and we do the same. We lay low during the hot seasons and are active in the evenings and early mornings, but again, since I am allowed inside the house, I never really get too hot. Now that the weather has cooled off here, we are all very active at all hours of the day.

Thank you so much for all of the questions and I look forward to getting more emails from you all. You can check us out at pawsitivebeginnings.org and email me personally at [email protected]

 Until next week, Reef, over and out!

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Jim McCarthy believes in community reporting, giving back and life on the water. A workout fanatic, diver and a bogey-golfer, Jim loves chicken wings, Marvel movies and sports.