Georgia Wildlife Web

Home Glossary Classification Conservation Status Regions of Georgia Fishes of Georgia Make a Donation

Species Description

Gray Fox

Urocyon cinereoargenteus


Species Image
Last      Next

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae

Description

The short coarse fur is predominantly gray in color, with patches of reddish fur on the sides of the neck, flanks, legs, and underside of tail; undersides are buff in color. A black stripe runs along animal's back down to the tail tip, which is always black. Smaller than the Red Fox, adult Gray Foxes are 85 - 102 cm (33.5 - 40.2 in) in total length and weigh up to 4.8 kg (10.5 lbs). The long, narrow muzzle is set off by the large triangular ears.

Life Cycle

Breeding takes place from January - April. The female Gray Fox gives birth to 2 - 7 young about 53 days later. Pups stay with the parents until 3 months of age, when they become independent. Nearly all Gray Foxes breed within their first year. Gray Foxes make their dens in burrows, hollow logs, in cavities under rocks and logs, and even in abandoned buildings.

Natural History

The Gray Fox is the forest fox of the eastern United States; The Red Fox prefers more open habitats. The Gray Fox is unique among the wild dog species of North America in that it is an excellent tree climber and can leap from branch to branch like a cat. This ability allows it to escape from predators, forage for food, and gain access to dens or resting places. One Gray Fox den was found in a hollow tree 9.1 m (30 ft) above the ground! This fox is most active at night, also at dusk and dawn. It feeds on birds, eggs, rabbits, rodents, squirrels, fruits, and nuts. Predators of the Gray Fox include eagles, Coyotes, and Bobcats. The Gray Fox is one of several carnivores which are known carriers of rabies disease.

Range

Gray Fox Region Map The Gray Fox is found throughout Georgia. It occurs over the eastern United States, then west across the southern half to California, and up the western coast to Washington.

Conservation Status

In Georgia, the trapping/hunting season for the Gray Fox runs from December to mid-February.

Similar Species

The somewhat larger Red Fox has a white tail tip, and its feet, underside of tail, and ear edges are black.