Fox Babies | Baby Foxes Are Called Kits


fox-babies

Fox babies are adorable, they plop around in a frenzy, and they make cute little noises! Did you know fox babies are called kits, or cubs? We’re going to tell you just about everything you need to know about fox kits, and what makes them so unique.

Fox babies are called kits or cubs. The kit season for foxes starts in March and runs through May. Foxes have 1-10 kits per litter, and the kits grow to be adults in less than a year.

The internet is full of content about cats and dogs, but foxes and fox babies could give them a run for their money! It’s rarer to see fox kits because they do not leave their dens for at least a month, and when they do, they don’t stray too far, and not without the watching eye of their parents.

What is the Baby of a Fox Called?

Fox babies have a few different names. Some people call them kits, some call them cubs, pups, or whelps, and most people just call them babies. Fox cubs are probably the first term used for them, while kits are a newer term.

fox-cub-fox-kit
Source.

For this article, we will be referring to them with all of their names. Fox kits should not be confused with kit foxes, which are a species of fox. Regardless of what they are called, they are stinking cute!

When Do Foxes Mate?

The breeding season for most foxes starts around December-January and lasts until February. Foxes use multiple dens, one of them being a natal/maternal den. After breeding, they will move to their natal den, where the baby foxes will be born and raised.

All animals have different mating seasons. Most larger animals, with longer gestation periods, mate in fall or winter and give birth in the spring. While smaller animals with shorter gestation periods mate in spring and summer, however, this is not the case with most foxes.

When Are Foxes Babies Born?

Foxes have a short gestation period, of around 50 days, but they generally do not mate until fall or winter, giving birth in the spring. Fox kits are usually born between March and the end of May, depending on when they started breeding.

These dates can differ depending on the breed of fox and the location where they live. In America, the kit season (when the babies are born) is closer to march.

How Often do Foxes Have Babies?

The average red fox, mates once per year. Female foxes are called vixens, and male foxes are called dog foxes, tod foxes, or reynards. Foxes make excellent parents and do everything within their power to keep their young safe. They make sure that the kits are reared and prepared to go off on their own.

Because their gestation period is so short, there have been reports of some foxes having two litters per year, such as with arctic foxes and fennec foxes. This may also happen in the pet fox industry, where foxes are raised to have babies, and then sold as pet foxes, to maximize their profits.  

How Many Fox Babies in a Litter

Most fox litters, (your average red fox) are relatively small, being between 1-6 kits per litter. However, some species of foxes can have 10+ kits per litter. When it down to exactly how many kits a fox will have, it’s the luck of the draw, as it is with any animal.

Arctic foxes have much larger litters, with 14 kits or more. This may be due, in part, to the fact that their survival rate is lower, living in extreme winter conditions. This can also be because many arctic foxes are migratory, and animals who migrate have a greater mortality rate.

mother-fox-and-babies

How Long do Fox Cubs Stay With Mother?

Baby foxes are born inside of the den, where the mother vixen takes care of them. They feed on the milk of their mother for about four weeks, until the parents start regurgitating food into their mouths.

At this point, the mother gets a little break and may start to hunt again with the father, providing fresh meat for the family. After this, the foxes get to venture closer to the den opening, where food is left for them.

Newborn Fox Kits

When foxes are first born, they are both blind and deaf. They are born inside of the natal den, where they do not leave for about a month. This means that the mother must stay with them, nurse them, and protect them. Newborn fox babies are susceptible to being preyed on by predators, who find pups to be an easy kill.

The father of the newborns, spends much of his time hunting, while the mother stays in the den with them. After they feed on the mother’s milk for several weeks, the babies are weaned off their mother’s milk and are fed food from regurgitation.

From this point, their food is left near the den opening, where they start to venture closer to the outside world. This gets them used to eating on their own, gives them exercise, and prepares them to exit the den. The water that they consume at this point, is absorbed from the food that they eat.

Baby Fox Teeth

Just like with most creatures, fox babies are born with no teeth. They start to get their first teeth, called deciduous teeth or milk teeth, a few weeks after they are born. A few weeks later, they get the rest of their baby teeth, 28 in total.

Later they lose their baby teeth, which are replaced with 42 adult teeth. Some foxes, such as bat-eared foxes have six extra molars, giving them 48 adult teeth.

Baby Foxes Description

Most baby foxes are born with tan, brown, or charcoal-colored fur. They are extremely fuzzy and look very different from their parents. This helps them blend in better when they start to leave the den.

When they are born they weigh between 2.5 – 4 ounces. After they are born they start to grow very quickly, tripling in size, in just over a week. Baby foxes start hunting on their own, killing small prey such as insects and rodents, after about the third month.

After the third or fourth month, they become juveniles. This when they start to get their adult-fur coloring. Their eyes also change from being blue to being the eye color of adult foxes.

what-do-baby-red-foxes-eat

Do Fox Cubs Stay Together?

When fox cubs are born they stay together for the first 4-6 months of their lives. Because they are born inside of the den, they do not leave each other’s side until they are a few months old and can venture out, where they learn to hunt.

This is the point, when they move with their parents out of the natal den, to other den sites. They are juveniles now and start to explore the home-range, so they can hunt, and learn the ropes. After around 6-10 months, the foxes are considered fully grown.

At around 7-10 months, the foxes leave their parents, to start their own lives, and eventually find mates. The average red fox in the wild only lives to be 2-3 years old, so their lifecycle is very short.

Red Fox Cubs

Red foxes are the most common fox. They live throughout the world, from North America to Europe, Asia, and even North Africa. Kits are sometimes born with brown or tan-colored fur and blue eyes.

Later they get their natural fur color, and eye color, when they become juveniles. The cubs are born very small but grow quickly. They live off of their mother’s milk for the first four weeks, and later they start to feed on small insects and rodents. See more about red fox babies in our article here.

Arctic Fox Babies

Arctic foxes have much larger litters than red foxes. They can have anywhere from 8-14 kits per litter. Arctic foxes are born at a different time of year than red foxes. Their mating season starts from April until July, and the kits are born around August.

While the average litter is around 14 kits, there have been reports of artic foxes having over 20 kits per litter. The reduction in numbers is from the lack of food and scarcity. Arctic fox dens are huge, most of them being generational. They are known to have hundreds of openings.

When food is scarce, and the weather is terrible, not every arctic fox kit will survive. Some will be taken by the weather, and some of the weaker kits will be eaten, as a food source, so the others survive.

Unlike other foxes, the male arctic fox rears the fox kits. The male fox shares the natal den with the mother, females from previous litters, and the kits. Source.

Fennec Fox Babies

Fennec fox babies come from Africa. The fennec fox is the smallest of all of the canid species. They weigh 1.5 to 2.5 pounds, fully grown. Mating season for fennec foxes starts in January and February, and the kits are born sometime in March through April.

The babies are born a tan and brown color, and eventually, become completely tan or creamed colored like their parents. The litter only consists of around 2-5 kits, and the gestation period is around 50 days. If none of the kits survive, the parents have been known to produce a second litter in the same year.

fennec-fox-babies-with-mother

Gray Fox Babies

Gray fox babies are born at different times of the year, depending on the location. They have one litter, of 2-4 kits. The average North American gray fox, mates in February and March, and gives birth sometime around April.

Gray fox kits weigh around 3 ounces at birth. Gray foxes are considered fully grown at 10 months, which is when they leave their parents, to start a family of their own.

Kit Fox Babies

Kit fox babies are found in North America. The kit fox is the smallest fox species in America. They live mostly in southern parts of America, and northern parts of Mexico. Kit fox breeding season starts in December and can last until early February.

The cubs are born in the spring months. The litter is usually somewhere between 2-7 cubs, with an average of about 4. Although kit foxes are mature at 10 months old, they have less success breeding in their first year, and usually do not breed until the second year.

Does a Baby Fox Make a Good Pet?

If you came to this article wondering if you can own a baby fox, then you may be wondering if they make good pets. The fact is, foxes are extremely hard to care for. They smell, they are temperamental, and they need special conditions, such as enclosures, to be raised.

They cannot be housebroken, and will not be able to be fully potty trained. We do not condone the purchasing of pet foxes from the pet fox trade, however, if one were to do so, we believe there should be reliable information for them.

In most cases, it is better to get them as babies, so that they create a bond with you, that imprints onto them. This doesn’t mean they will be perfect angels since when they become full-grown, they will still bite, pee on things, and be all around unruly.

What Sound Does a Baby Fox Make?

Baby foxes are extremely adorable. When they become around 1 month old, they start to play fight and become more active inside of the den. They tend to make smacking noises, and little peeping sounds.

Kits will also make whimpering noises so that their parents will pay attention to them. They tend to be very attached to the mother for the first couple of months. You can listen to two young foxes here.

Related Questions

What do baby arctic foxes eat?

Arctic foxes eat a variety of vegetation, fruit, and small game mammals, mostly lemmings. The babies are fed small pieces of prey until they can learn to hunt on their own. Fox parents will also feed them carrion (carcasses left by other predators.)

What do baby fennec foxes eat?

Baby fennec foxes eat mostly insects and small rodents. The parents bring food back to the den until the kits can hunt on their own. They start by hunting small insects within the den.


Sources
https://guidetoiceland.is/nature-info/the-arctic-fox#reproduction-behaviour
https://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/fennec-fox/
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1213&context=usgsnpwrc
https://www.esf.edu/aec/adks/mammals/gray_fox.htm

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an author and researcher dedicated to bringing reliable information about foxes to the public. He supports animal sanctuary awareness.

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