The Irish Fox – Wildlife Wednesdays.
Our weekly dive into our beautiful Irish wildlife – This week is the clever Fox – The Sionnach or Madra Rua
I bet you’ve read Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl… If you haven’t yet, you need to! Everybody loves the clever fox, one of our most iconic wild Irish mammals.
This series will help your family reconnect with Ireland’s unique and wonderful wildlife.
Each week we cover a new animal or bird that appears in the Johnny Magory book series.
Here’s some key facts to recap on the Fox:
- Average lifespan is 4-6 years in the wild.
- Males are known as dogs; female are vixens and babies are cubs.
- They are highly vocal using a range of sounds to communicate, these vary from high pitched murmuring whines emitted by cubs to the distinctive triple bark used by adults, the vixen often uses a high-pitched scream during the breeding season.
- They are able swimmers and can even climb trees.
- Foxes are highly adaptive mammals that can inhabit any type of land area.
- Foxes use two types of nest sites. Underground dens known as earths and over ground lie-up areas found in thick vegetation with numerous of both across the territory.
- Territory size vary depending on the area type and availability of food. Mountains/ upland territories are up to 1,000ha. Urban territories are from 20ha to 40ha. Farmland/ countryside territories are from 200ha to 600ha.
- Foxes are very opportunistic eaters. Species which they have a preference for include rabbits, young hares, rats, mice, hedgehogs, pigeons and ground nesting birds. They will forage for earthworms, beetles, crickets and insect larvae. Apples and blackberries are also eaten on occasion. They store food in cache sites to be eaten at a later date.
- Foxes are largely monogamous and can live in small groups comprising of one adult male, one dominant vixen and several younger nonbreeding females.
- Cubs are usually born in March and April with litter sizes averaging four or five cubs. They are deaf and blind when born.
- The mother will remain with the cubs in the earth for several weeks to provide body heat and gives milk for six weeks. The male will bring food to the den, which is regurgitated, they can eat solid food by the age of one month.
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