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Fox Predators: What Eats Foxes?

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Foxes are generally solitary animals, preferring to hunt and sleep alone unless they are raising young in their own dens. For this reason, foxes become easy kills for the voracious carnivores who eat them. Foxes prey on small animals such as lizards, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, and hares. They also eat birds, fruit, insects and small aquatic animals.

fox background

Foxes are omnivorous mammals belonging to the family Canidae. Therefore, they are related to dogs, jackals and wolves. They are medium in size and most of them are found all over the world.

Generally, foxes have a very pointed triangular face and a long, narrow nose. Their ears are very pointed and stand straight up from their heads. They also have a flattering skull, long fur, a slender podium, relatively short legs, and they have long, bushy tails. Unlike most members of the family, foxes have partially retractable claws and typically walk on their toes.

what do foxes eat

fox barking red fox
Bears, cougars, eagles and wolves eat foxes.

©iStock.com/Tyrannax

Animals such as bears, mountain lions, birds such as eagles, certain reptiles, wolves and bobcats feed on foxes. As for reptiles, only pythons and boa constrictors conveniently eat foxes due to their large size — other snakes generally can't eat animals the size of foxes.

Here is a list of animals that eat foxes:

  • cougar
  • eagles
  • Coyotes
  • wolves
  • lynx
  • owl
  • bobcats
  • Wolverine
  • fox
  • Humanity
  • Bear
  • leopard

The most widespread species in North America is the red fox, with other species including rain fox, arctic fox, fox and gray fox. Foxes typically live in forested areas, but may also live in mountains, grasslands, and deserts. They dig holes in the ground and build themselves a home—a safer place to store food and raise their young. Male foxes are called dog foxes, and female foxes are called vixen. The glands at the base of most fox tails have a musty smell.

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After roughly talking about this solitary animal, let’s learn about the animals that eat foxes one by one:

Fox Predator: Cougar

Cougar vs Cougar
Cougars are ambush predators that prey on foxes.

© Kwadrat/Shutterstock.com

Cougars are found only in the Americas, with a range from California to South America and Canada. These creatures are ambush predators that eat almost any prey, including foxes. Cougars' strength and speed make them easy to catch and kill foxes, especially when they're out looking for food. When a cougar targets a fox, it will often jump onto it from a hidden position and deliver a fatal blow to the neck.

Fox Predator: Leopard

When leopards get too complicated catching other prey, they turn to foxes for a quick kill. Red foxes are usually bigger than other foxes – unfortunately, they are a good meal for leopards. When the leopard saw the fox, it took aim, lowered its head and bent its legs, approached quietly, and pounced on the fox to eat it.

Fox Predator: Bear

black bear
Foxes are easily caught and eaten by bears.

©BGSmith/Shutterstock.com

Bears are found in North America and live in mountains and the northern hemisphere, where temperatures are cold. Because of their large size, foxes are easy to catch, so bears prefer to fight for them rather than challenge larger prey. In some cases, bears compete with other higher predators for food from foxes.

Fox Predators: Wolves and Coyotes

Wolves are one of the most aggressive top hunters and will eat foxes when they are hungry.

For coyotes, however, the situation is quite different. Coyotes are naturally the fox's worst enemy, even though they belong to the same group. These two canids will fight whenever they are near each other. Interestingly, coyotes kill foxes to reduce their numbers, with the main goal of preserving food for themselves. Sadly, young, small adult red foxes are consistently targeted by coyotes.

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other animals that eat foxes

Birds of prey such as eagles prefer to hunt young foxes, and one good reason is to balance their weight while flying.

In addition, other animals such as bobcats, bobcats, owls, wolverines, and badgers also eat foxes.

Some foxes also eat other foxes, especially when food is scarce. In some extreme cases, foxes can steal young (little foxes) for food.

major threat to foxes

Humans appear to be the greatest threat to the foxes due to a range of farming practices. Through these agricultural practices, humans have been shown to destroy foxes' natural habitat, exposing them to other predators higher up the food chain. In addition to manipulating their natural habitat, humans have recently killed several foxes while hunting them for their meat, hides and furs.

How do foxes defend themselves against predators?

fox tooth - a fox
Foxes use their teeth and claws to ward off predators.

© iStock.com/Film Studio Avenue

It is the instinct of animals and humans to avoid danger. For some organisms, camouflage in the environment is used to preserve their own lives. But foxes defend themselves by fighting back or running away.

For example, arctic foxes have sharp teeth and claws that are very effective in fighting predators. Red foxes build nests in grasslands for protection. Gray foxes in the mountains of California rub themselves on the scent trails left by mountain lions. They may also use the scent of big cats known as pumas or pumas as camouflage against predators such as coyotes. Gray foxes may also climb trees to avoid predators.

In general, however, foxes tend to flee from humans and other predators rather than fight them.

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Are foxes good for humans?

Foxes, especially red foxes, can greatly benefit humans through their hunting activities. They prey on mice, other rodents and giant insects in their environment. They usually don't eat their prey right away; instead, they take it to their burrows for a future meal. These foxes also help clear areas by eating discarded food.

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featured image

calpeo fox
Culpeo foxes are common in the Andes.

© iStock.com/tane-mahuta


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