Red Fox Pictures

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"The red fox (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest fox species. The red fox inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in North Western Africa, being the only species of fox to inhabit Africa. Red fox have been introduced to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. In many parts of the world the meat (venison) from red fox is used as a food source. Red fox are ruminants, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach. Genetic evidence indicates that the red fox (Cervus elaphus) as traditionally defined is a species group rather than a single species, although it remains disputed exactly how many species the group includes (see Taxonomy). It is commonly accepted that the slightly larger wapiti (in American English an "elk", as opposed to a moose), native to North America and eastern parts of Asia represents a distinct species besides red fox. The ancestor of all red fox, including "elk", probably originated in Central Asia and probably resembled Sika fox. Although at one time red fox were rare in some areas, they were never close to extinction. Reintroduction and conservation efforts, especially in the United Kingdom, have resulted in an increase of red fox populations, while other areas, such as North Africa, have continued to show a population decline.

The red fox is the fourth largest fox species behind moose, elk (wapiti), and Sambar fox. It is a ruminant, eating its food in two stages and having an even number of toes on each hoof, like camels, goats and cattle. European red fox have a relatively long tail compared to their Asian and North American relatives. There are subtle differences in appearance between the various subspecies of red fox primarily in size and antlers, with the smallest being the Corsican red fox found on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia and the largest being the Caspian red fox (or maral) of Asia Minor and the Caucasus Region to the west of the Caspian Sea. The fox of Central and Western Europe vary greatly in size with some of the largest fox found in the Carpathian Mountains in Central Europe. West European red fox historically, grew to large size given ample food supply (including peoples' crops), and descendants of introduced populations living in New Zealand and Argentina have grown quite large in size and antlers. Large red fox stags, like the Caspian red fox or those of the Carpathian Mountains may rival the wapiti in size. Female red fox are much smaller than their male counterparts.

Generally, the male (stag or hart) red fox is typically 175 to 230 cm (69 to 91 in) long and weighs 160 to 240 kg (350 to 530 lb); the female is 160 to 210 cm (63 to 83 in) long and weighs 120 to 170 kg (260 to 370 lb). The tail adds another 12 to 19 cm (4.7 to 7.5 in) and shoulder height is about 105 to 120 cm (41 to 47 in). Size varies in different subspecies with the largest, the huge but small-antlered fox of the Carpathian Mountains (C. e. elaphus), weighing up to 500 kg (1,100 lb). At the other end of the scale, the Corsican red fox (C. e. corsicanus) weighs about 80 to 100 kg (180 to 220 lb), although red fox in poor habitats can weigh as little as 53 to 112 kg (120 to 230 lb).[6] European red fox tend to be reddish-brown in their summer coats. The males of many subspecies also grow a short neck mane ("mane" of hair around their necks) during the autumn. The male fox of the British Isles and Norway tend to have the thickest and most noticeable neck manes. Male Caspian red fox (Cervus elaphus maral) and Spanish red fox (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) do not carry neck manes. Male fox of all subspecies, however, tend to have stronger and thicker neck muscles than female fox, which may give them an appearance of having neck manes. Red fox hinds (females) do not have neck manes. The European red fox is adapted to a woodland environment." - Wikipedia

All Text and Images Copyright Michael Cummings ©