The fox is the animal symbol of cunning, both in Aesop’s fables and in legends and folk tales. Often, however, the metaphor of the fox is synonymous with a ‘stupid’ cleverness that causes damage to oneself. But why do we define the fox as a smart animal?Surely, being a predator with excellent levels of hunting success, the fox can be defined as a skilled and adaptable hunter, but its ‘evolutionary cleverness’ actually does not lie only in hunting, but in its being omnivorous and scavenger, in fact, it is not rare to find foxes rummaging through the bins, entering chicken coops, stealing human food and who, alas, manage to soften humans to be fed. In fact, the so-called cunning of the fox would be better defined as adaptability. Think that there are foxes in every continent of the Earth, except in Antarctica and it is in fact the most widespread carnivorous mammal on the planet.
This really means that the fox has managed to adapt to every corner of the planet through its cunning evolutionary strategies. Historically, in fact, the connotation of cunning was given to foxes for their ability to steal chickens and rabbits from humans. Today their cunning, unfortunately, is putting them in danger. The fact that they get so close, and more and more, to Man and anthropic environments means that they are often fed directly by human beings, risking getting sick, ending up run over, getting excessively used to Man and being killed. They don’t know how stupid and evil human beings can be and their only hope is to stay smart, getting away from cities and human beings. Their salvation is their distrust.
Curiosity:Have you ever seen a fox hunting? Blow up and dive into a hole in the ground to grab its prey? This wonderful hunting technique is also enhanced by the fact that foxes are able to find rodents even km underground as they exploit the magnetic field to hunt.
Foxes are amazing parents! The chicks are born with their eyes closed (like almost all carnivores, they are inept) and therefore the mother stays in the den with them and the father brings food. Think that it seems that in England, a fox cub was caught in a metal trap and stayed there for two weeks but survived because his mother brought him food every day.
Some Russian experiments conducted by Dmitry Belayev, a Soviet geneticist, have shown that foxes selected and tamed over the generations became more like dogs and unfortunately this is what is happening in some countries of England where very docile foxes fed by people are losing their wildness by also physically assuming dog-like characteristics. A very sad thing that should never have happened.
FootprintThe footprint resembles that of a small dog or a cat, with the difference that its claws can be seen, not being a feline with retractable claws and being more elongated than that of a dog, however, tending to be more rounded.
Image Source: https://www.wildlifeillinois.org/gallery/animal-sign/tracks/red-fox-tracks/
Vocalization (listen to his verse)
It has been observed that red foxes can produce dozens of different vocalizations that are used to communicate with their young, with other nearby foxes or as a vocalization to conquer a partner.
Conservation statusAs we have seen, the red fox has no conservation problems, fortunately. It is spread all over the world and has a stable population of individuals. Unfortunately, however, his confidence in humans is leading many foxes to be captured to become pets, or killed because they are considered annoying and pests by those who raise poultry.
What can you do to protect themFoxes have a very important role in the ecosystem: to keep the population of rodents and other animals stable. Like any hunter, it is therefore essential that his diet is not altered with respect to the physiological and natural one. For this reason, we can all and must safeguard the wildness of the wonderful foxes, educating friends and relatives not to feed or tame them.