Gray Fox

Urocyon cinereoargenteus

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The Gray Fox is a common canid found throughout the Americas. It can be identified by a variegated fur coat which is predominately gray mixed with red on the top of the body with a white chest, flanks and belly. The fur is tipped with black, giving a much darker appearance to the rump and tail. The head is broad with wide-set eyes and small ears. There are black patches extending from the top of the muzzle to the lower jaw and upward from each eye. An adult fox is small compared to other canids like Coyotes and Gray Wolves. A typical adult will measure up to 45 inches (114 cm) in length from nose to the tip of the tail and weigh no more than 15 lbs. (7 kg).

Like other foxes, the Gray Fox is a reclusive animal active only during night (nocturnal) or twilight (crepuscular) hours. It relies on stealth and ambush to hunt; feeding mostly on hares, shrews, moles and mice. However, the fox is both opportunistic and an omnivore so its diet may vary based on food availability. The fox may raid farms to snatch up chickens or other poultry. For this reason, it often considered a nuisance animal.

Range and Habitat

The Gray Fox can be found throughout North American, Central America and into the northern part of South America. Although it has been displaced by the Red Fox as the most populous fox species in the eastern United States, it is still the dominant fox in the Pacific Northwest. In Oregon, they are found almost exclusively in the Cascade Mountain Range and adjacent areas. They are not reported on the coast. Because of their reclusive nature, Gray Foxes will not inhabit areas close to human beings, although they may den in abandoned buildings. Typically, they will live in subterranean dens in forested and wooded areas. It is one of only two canids in the world which can climb trees, the other being the Asian Raccoon Dog. Although the Gray Fox will not den in trees, it may climb them to hunt, escape danger or rest.

Conservation Status