Description & Range:
Gray foxes are common animals that can be found throughout Maryland and much
of the eastern and southern United States.
The gray fox is somewhat stout and has shorter legs than the red fox. Its
coat is mostly grizzled-gray with some reddish fringes throughout its body. The
cheeks, throat, inner ears and most of the underside are white. The upper part
of the tail, including the tip, is black. The gray fox ranges from 30 to 44
inches in total length and can weigh from 8 to 15 pounds. Red foxes have a white
tip on their tail.
Gray foxes typically live in dense forests with some edge habitat for
hunting. Their home ranges typically are 2-4 miles. Gray foxes can also be found
in suburban areas.
Gray foxes are omnivorous, meaning that they can eat both plants and animals.
Prey items frequently eaten by gray foxes include rabbits, mice, squirrels, rats
and insects. Game birds are frequently eaten, including quail, turkeys and
ruffed grouse. Gray foxes will also eat carrion and plants including fruits,
nuts and berries.
Foxes breed from January through March with the gray fox tending to breed 2
to 4 weeks later than the red fox. After an average gestation period of 53 days,
the female fox gives birth to a litter averaging 4 or 5 pups. The gray fox
usually does not use an underground den but, instead, dens in dense brush,
cavities in stumps and trees, rock crevices or under out-buildings such as barns
Gray foxes are less vocal than red foxes and will occasionally bark or yap.
Gray foxes tend to be active from the late evening hours until dawn
(nocturnal). Because of this, they are seen much less than red foxes. They will
readily climb trees, jumping from branch to branch while hunting or for
protection. Red foxes cannot climb trees. Gray foxes are generally very
territorial but have small home ranges.
Gray Foxes are managed as furbearers in Maryland. Click here to learn more about