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Fox Den

Summary: The dens that foxes live in are typically small and hidden away. One neat thing about fox dens is that each fox usually has more than one. This is great when foxes need to hide out if predators have invaded their main place of residence.

Trivia fact of the day: A fox's home is called a den. Oddly enough, most foxes do not actually create their dens from scratch. Instead, because they are so clever, they use old burrows that armadillos, woodchucks, prairie dogs, marmots or squirrels have abandoned. This saves them a lot of time and effort.

Fox dens can be found almost anywhere includinge debris piles, piles of wood and even old tunnels dug by other animals. They may also be found in grassy areas on the sides of highways. Foxes use their dens for three main purposes. They hide from predators, seek shelter from severe weather and raise their young in the dens. Because foxes are nocturnal, they rarely inhabit their dens at night.

Foxes actually move around to different dens quite often and some species may even dig tunnels that connect the dens. One reason for this inter-highway connection is because of predators. If a fox notices that something is awry with its den, it will pack up the kids and hit the road because it suspects that a predator has interfered with its abode. Sometimes, foxes will up and leave their dens because of grass fires. If foxes live in dry environments, fires that catch in nearby grasses can spread quickly to their dens. In fact, foxes may build small, temporary dens near their main den to run to in case of interference.

Some fox species need to mark their dens to remember where they are hidden. They can do so by emitting a unique scent onto an area near the den. This scent comes from glands just above their tails.

Fox dens typically have several entrances, especially for dens where young pups are being raised. This makes going out in search of food much easier for the adult foxes. However, if there are no pups in the family, foxes will most likely have only one entrance so that their predators cannot get inside. Fox dens usually have piles of dirt in front of their entrances to deter predators. The entrances are typically circular and are about seven to nine inches in diameter.

Leaves, grass, and pieces of bark are used to adorn the interior of a fox den. The adult foxes create a type of bedroom about four feet deep into the den for their young. This little room is covered with soft grass for the kits to sleep on.
There are a couple of different ways to identify a fox den. If there are carcasses from small animals in the near vicinity, the den is probably a fox den. Obviously, foxes don't always take doggy bags with their food. Other signs include small holes that have been dug nearby and animal feces or cobwebs near the den.

Fox pups are raised inside the den and start to emerge into the real world after about a month. During this time the pups enjoy playing right outside the den with their brothers and sisters. Because there is no Toys ˜R Us nearby, the pups create their own fun with toys they may find near the den including some of my favorites, horse dung, bones of other animals and scraps of food. And, just like most children, the pups do not usually clean up after themselves. The outside of the den may have remnants of all of the previously mentioned items.

Interestingly, if foxes live in the same area as coyotes, the foxes will build their dens outside of the coyotes' territory probably to avoid the larger, intimidating coyotes.

In some areas, foxes compete with Eurasian badgers for food, den sites and land. These badgers have reportedly gone so far as to eat fox pups when left without another food source. There have been some reports, though, of foxes that get along with Eurasian badgers and even share den sites with them.

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