Whether you are trying to find the den of a pesky nuisance fox near your property or are just curious about this tricky little creature, you’ve come to the right place. This article will focus solely on fox dens, finding them, and even how to eliminate them.
While it can vary, a fox den is usually found in an area with heavy vegetation. Often they will dig their tunnels under a tree or large rocks. So if you see a hole that looks like it could just fit a fox and you see feces, bones, or smell urine nearby, it is very possibly a fox den.
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule for where foxes build their dens. They are found in open grassland, in dense forests, or in harsh tundra. The rest of this article will explore where and how foxes will typically build their dens.
What’s the Layout of a Fox Den?
A fox den usually has about 4 or 5 sections minimum. The entrance, the ramp, the main den, and a room that operates as a food cache. There may also be additional rooms, depending on the size of the pack.
Fox Den General Layout
First, a fox den opens with an entrance and a ramp. The ramp is sort of a corridor that goes 3 to 8 feet deep into the ground and connects the entrance with the main den.
Foxes also store food they forage and hunt, so the den will include at least one food cache in which they will bury all that food. The number of other sections (or “rooms”) depends on the size of the pack.
At the very least, the den will be big enough for a fox to give birth to their litter and raise them. It’s also possible that they will burrow a few more tunnels and create additional entrances/exits.
How Much Food Do Foxes Store in a Den?
Usually, foxes store food in larger quantities to carry them throughout the winter and the mating season. But usually, they keep only what they will need to last them a few days since they don’t hunt every single day. They generally store berries and fruit and consume any meat they bring in first.
How Far Are Fox Dens From Each Other?
If there is plenty of food and fresh water, you can find 2 or 3 fox dens in a 10-square-mile area. However, if the resources are scarce, it will be more like one den for every 20 square miles.
Do Foxes Have Multiple Dens?
Fox often have multiple dens. They generally have a main (natal) den and a backup one, plus their inherited or stolen dens.
More on the “theft” in a bit.
Related Where Do Foxes Sleep? | Complete Sleeping Habits Guide.
How Big Is the Entrance to a Fox Den?
The main fox den entrance (aka a fox hole) is usually 7 or 8 inches in diameter. However, the additional entries can be as small as 4 inches.
How Big Is the Den Itself?
Fox dens usually take an area of 10 to 20 feet from the entrance to the main den.
Do Different Fox Species Build Dens Differently?
Each fox breed generally has a different way of building its dens, which vary in complexity. For example, Arctic foxes have the most intricate dens, while urban foxes mostly keep it simple. Unfortunately, keeping it simple may translate to tearing through your house or a garden to create a shelter.
But no matter how simple or complex each structure is, they all have the same essential components.
Where Are Fox Dens Typically Located?
In their natural habitat, foxes build dens under hollow trees or fallen stumps. The tree keeps the entrance camouflaged and protects both them and the den from predators. If they are not available, they’ll pick another area with very dense vegetation.
The urban foxes pick any place they think it’s isolated enough, such as empty lots or under houses.
Is It Easy to Locate a Fox Den?
Fox dens are a lot easier to find in urban developments because these critters are known to be very destructive when they create them. However, it is challenging in the forest or the tundra unless you have a lot of practice and know what to look for.
How Can You Locate a Fox Den?
The best way to locate a fox den is to rely on your nose. Foxes mark their territory with urine, so there will be a strong, distinct smell concentrated in one area. Their den will often be very close by.
There may also be a smell of feces. Foxes do their business in an area that is not too far away from their home (but also not too close to it either). Then, look for possible signs of foot traffic. If you find any and it leads to a tree or something green, chances are the entrance to the den will be right there.
Related What Is the Most Dangerous Fox? (To Animals and Humans).
How Long Does a Fox Typically Live In Its Den?
This depends on the breed and location. For example, red foxes only use the dens for breeding, while others may spend more time in them. However, most foxes use them long-term.
Foxes typically use the same den year after year. As long as it stays safe, they will return to it as many times as they can. Some foxes even inherit dens from the previous generation, with some discovered dens in Europe going back for hundreds of years.
In essence, foxes don’t abandon the den unless they have to. They usually leave because of the predators, scarcity of food, or humans chasing them out.
When Do Baby Foxes Leave the Den?
Kits don’t leave the den at all until they grow 4 to 5 weeks old. Then, the mother fox teaches them how to exit it by slowly leaving their food closer and closer to the entrance. Eventually, the mother only leaves the food outside the den, while the kits learn how to hunt, forage, and fend for themselves.
They’ll “move out” about 3 or 4 months after they become adults.
Related How Long Do Foxes Live? | In the Wild vs. Captivity.
How Many Foxes Typically Live In One Den?
A pair of foxes usually share their den with their offspring. Of course, that includes a new generation of kits, but it’s also possible for some female members of previous litters to stay behind. The older sisters help care for the newborns while the older brothers leave to claim their territory.
Fun Fact: Foxes share, borrow, and steal other animals’ dens.
In extreme situations, foxes will even share a den with rabbits and other woodland creatures. They will cohabitate peacefully until the danger passes. When it does, all bets are off.
Foxes also borrow other animals’ dens when they are traveling or moving. They may even “borrow” the den permanently and fix it up to their standards and needs.
How Do You Get Rid of a Fox Den? Should You Fill It?
If you are finding a nearby fox to be a nuisance, filling their den to try to get them to move on is a viable option. However, you have to do it right to ensure they don’t dig it back up and return.
How to Fill a Fox Den
Start by checking if there are no animals inside. Then, poke down the hole with a long stick. Any fox that’s still in there will try to escape straight away. Keep your distance to be on the safe side.
To fill a fox den, put bricks in the hole. If you don’t have any handy, pick something else as heavy. The point is to fill the void with something that the foxes can’t dig back up. They almost always try to clear their den, but once they see it’s futile, they’ll often move on.
A fox den is typically located near a water source on a hill or slope where there is good drainage. A fox will usually burrow under thick brush, trees, or boulders. If you smell urine, see feces nearby, or food remains, you may be near a fox den. Look for a hole 6 to 10 inches wide.
I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!
For more, check out Identifying Animal Eyes at Night | With Eye Shine Chart.
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!