I remember the first time I saw a wild fox. I was in the middle of a round of golf, and there it was prancing up the fairway towards me. My partner warned me to stay away because it might attack. But then, it dawned on me that I had never learned if any fox species are actually dangerous. So, I looked into the matter.
The most dangerous fox in the world is the Red Fox. They are known to hunt rodents, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates, like crickets and grasshoppers. They are even known to feed on their own kind and carrion. However, they have a reputation for being omnivores, feeding also on plants and various fruits.
The rest of the article will talk more about the red fox and answer a few common questions about whether foxes are an animal to be concerned about or not.
The Red Fox – The Deadliest Fox
The Red Fox belongs to the Order Carnivora, or the carnivores, and the Family Canidae, the canines or Canids. Its species, the Vulpes vulpes, is also the largest among the true foxes (genus Vulpes).
The red fox is a keen and intelligent hunter. For example, it can hear the squeak of a mouse from 100 ft. So when it lies in ambush for its prey, the red fox freezes on its tracks and waits for the right time to pounce. It then leaps high up in the air, extends its forelegs to pounce and pin down its prey.
The red fox is the most dominant species and is geographically the most widespread fox species. They are in almost all continents from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, as far as the Arctics. They have been known to make their habitation outside of human-populated areas, especially in rural areas near farms and mills, where there is a variety of vegetation. Some have even found themselves in urban areas.
The red fox is not considered dangerous to humans. On the contrary, the greatest predator of the red fox has been humans. But other larger animals, like wolves, coyotes, and other foxes, have also preyed on the red fox.
What Is the Most Dangerous Fox to Humans?
Generally speaking, foxes do not pose a serious threat to humans. Foxes are shy creatures and are often solitary or stay within the pack. They seldom exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans but rather avoid them.
Foxes, especially females, can make their dens in your backyard, and unless driven away, they will keep to themselves without causing any harm to any humans around. Foxes would choose flight rather than fight when confronted by humans.
However, in cases where a fox is infected by rabies, it would be well to avoid confronting it. Because foxes are wild animals and are unpredictable, it is best not to confront them in any situation in order to avoid getting bitten. This is probably the only danger foxes pose directly on humans.
However, indirectly, they pose a real danger to small house pets and animals in your yard. Since foxes are carnivores that prey on small animals, it is best to keep small house pets away from the reach of foxes in your yard. It is easy to ward off foxes from your yard because they scare off easily just with loud banging noises or water hose spray.
Are Foxes Scared of Dogs?
Foxes are not scared of dogs. However, foxes are not in the habit of confronting dogs. They’d rather not engage dogs, especially the breeds larger than their own size.
When confronted by a dog larger than its own size, a fox would flee and not fight. However, in cases where the fox is suffering from a certain illness and is not in its right mind, or if it is cornered, then it might have no choice but fight its way out.
Foxes may not be scared of smaller species of dogs like a chihuahua. But any dog larger than itself might already be too much to handle, even for the red fox. Therefore, a red fox won’t usually attack a dog.
Are Fennec Foxes Harmful to Humans?
Fennec foxes are not harmful to humans. On the contrary, Fennec their presence often benefits humans in terms of pest and rodent control around their property. Also, they spread seeds from fruit that they eat near their habitation.
Fennec foxes have unusually long ears that are very sensitive to sound and are useful for detecting prey, like rodents and lizards. They are the smallest species of fox measuring only 9 – 16 inches and weighing around 3 – 4 lbs.
The Fennec fox is probably the most adorable fox you’d ever see. They look cute and adorable, being so tiny with tall ears and a long bushy tail, and seemingly ideal to be made as pets. But they are not. Fennec foxes do not like being handled and may bite when scared or threatened.
What Is the Friendliest Fox?
The friendliest fox is the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). They are calm and friendly and are not wary of people or strangers but are tame and approachable. However, like most species of foxes, the gray fox is also not domesticated.
In 1959, a Russian scientist, Dmitri Belyayev, attempted to domesticate a particular breed of fox, the silver fox, to see if they could become domesticated as dogs were. Since dogs and foxes come from the same Canid family, they can supposedly manifest similar behavior patterns. Belyayev observed, after ten generations, that the foxes he bred already displayed similar behavior as domesticated dogs. They were no longer afraid of humans and loved petting. They learned to lick humans’ hands in appreciation. They whined when looking for attention and wagged their tails as dogs did when they were happy. The experiments were continued by Belyayev’s lead researcher, Lyudmila Trut, until 2018.
Do Foxes Make Good Pets?
Yes, foxes make good pets. They are fun and quite comical, and they have long bushy tails. The fennec fox has the appearance of a cute and cuddly little house pet. It has a tiny body and unusually long ears. On the other hand, the red fox, and its cousin, the silver fox, also makes a good pet because it is generally timid and reserved.
However, there are states where foxes are considered exotic and therefore illegal to have as a pet.
In general, foxes are not domesticated animals and thus not ideal for keeping as household pets. This is partly because of their incessant digging, marking of territory with their urine, and chewing just about anything they can chew on. And they are unpredictable.
For more, check out What’s a Fox Den Look Like? (How to Find One).
Hey, I’m Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!