Foxes eat a variety of small mammals and vegetation. If you are curious about all the different things a fox eats, check out this full guide we’ve created just for you!
What Do Foxes Eat
Foxes eat rodents, hares, birds, lemmings, reptiles, fish, frogs, voles, eggs, earthworms, caterpillars, seasonal vegetation, berries, seeds, mushrooms, and wild grasses. Foxes make 1-2 kills per week on average. Foxes are omnivores and will forage for food when no meat sources are available for prey.
Foxes live in different parts of the world so naturally, the food sources can vary widely upon what is available in its region and home-range.
What Do Foxes Eat in the Wild?
A fox sometimes only makes a kill once or twice a week so it must rely on other sources of food besides meat, such as insects or vegetation.
In the fall and summer months, foxes who live in warmer climates feed on berries, nuts, and wild grasses.
In northern parts of the world where the arctic fox lives, lemmings and rodents are the main meat source.
Scroll down for Table of Contents.
Foxes are opportunistic and will often feed on carcasses left behind by other animals (Known as carrion).
Foxes that live in captivity have a diet that mimics their prey from the wild. Quail and eggs and a balanced mix of tendons and meat. Read to the end to see the answer for what do pet foxes eat?
Fox food consists of a variety of small mammals, fruits, and vegetables. If you are feeding foxes, use grain-free kibble, as well as fruits like watermelon, and strawberries. Avoid feeding them chocolate, or cherry pits. Raw and cooked meat can be food for a fox.
Foxes are surplus killers and will kill more than they need, and save it for later, in food caches, hidden away in their den.
Fox food for pet foxes, can vary depending on who the owner is. Many pet fox owners feed their pet foxes a mixture of raw meat, vegetables, fruit, and some grain-free kibble. They also get supplements such as Taurine.
Glossary of Terms
|Prey – The Prey of a fox is the small animals that they kill as a food source, some prey include, rabbits, rodents, ducks, lizards.|
|Omnivore – An omnivore is a diet that consists of meat, fruits, and vegetation.|
|Carnivore – A Carnivore is an animal that only eats meat, such as a lion. Omnivores also eat meat and are considered carnivorous.|
|Raw Prey Model – The raw prey model is a diet that mimics an animal’s diet in the wild with raw meats and tendons.|
|Carrion – Carrion is the term for carcasses left by other animals that are a food source for the fox.|
|Kits – Baby foxes are known as kits.|
Visit our full glossary of terms page here.
Ecology | Fox Food Sources
The ecology of a fox is the animal’s connection to its environment and other creatures they interact with.
How Foxes Have Adapted
The fox is a complex animal that has adapted very well to its surroundings. While foxes in the wild have short life spans compared to some other animals, they have figured out their role in nature.
Arctic foxes have adapted particularly well to the harsh cold conditions of the arctic tundra, figuring out how to hunt in the snow as well as how to forage for vegetation and carrion in their natural environments.
Red foxes are another fox that has adapted extremely well to the environments where they thrive. Red foxes live on multiple continents and are the most widely dispersed species of fox. Their diet consists of a variety of small game and vegetation.
Social Behavior of Foxes
Are foxes social? Foxes are known as solitary hunters, that hunt mostly at night, however, foxes can be very social creatures.
They have been known to share their food with each other, especially within their own groups.
Foxes do not run in packs but they do carry on families and communicate with each other using signals such as fox calls, tail signaling and chemical communication (marking things with urine).
They sometimes share these buried goodies with other foxes, who can smell their markings.
The Fox’s Role in the Animal Kingdom
The fox is part of the family known as Animalia, known as the animal kingdom. Foxes play an important part in the overall ecology of the animal kingdom.
They sit not at the very top but within the top animals of the food chain. They prey on things like mice and birds and other small mammals including fish.
Foxes are also preyed upon by other predators higher up in the food chain.
This makes them a link in the circle of life that keeps the world in sync with nature.
Biology | Are Foxes Omnivores?
Just like many other animals foxes eat from multiple food sources. Fox food can vary depending on location and species. They have the bone structure of other vertebrae-type mammals.
Are foxes carnivores? Foxes eat meat so they are carnivorous, however, they also eat fruit, and vegetables as well as insects.
Are foxes omnivores? Foxes are omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of meat, fruit, and vegetation as well as insects. Because foxes are omnivores they can go longer between kills, foraging for fruits and vegetation.
Food goes into the mouth, where they have sharp canine teeth that rip the food into pieces.
Then it travels down the esophagus to the stomach, where chemicals break the food down into liquids.
After that, it passes into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed.
Next, it enters the large intestine where more absorption takes place turning it into feces where it is then passed out of the body as scat.
The fox’s stomach and digestion process wrap the bones in the undigested fibers/hairs and feathers, in a twisting pattern that makes their scat pointed on the ends when it comes out.
This keeps the bones from hurting their internal organs by containing them in the fibers.
What is Poisonous to Foxes
- Grapes And Raisins
- Onions, Garlic, and Chives
- Pits & Seeds from Apples, Cherries, and Peaches
One rule of thumb of what is poisonous to foxes is that if it’s bad for a dog or cat then you should probably keep it away from foxes.
Parts of avocado have a toxin called Persin that can cause respiratory and breathing problems with foxes.
While some dog foods use avocado they use the non-toxic parts.
The lethal dose of caffeine is 150mg per kg of body weight, so make sure to keep tea and coffee grounds away from foxes.
Chocolate is a well-known one, it contains theobromine which is poisonous to many animals. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is.
Grapes and raisins cause kidney problems in foxes.
Onion type plants can be toxic to animals.
Pits and seeds from apples, cherries, and peaches can turn into trace amounts of cyanide when digested, it’s best to avoid them.
Diseases | Fox Health
Foxes have a number of diseases that can kill them. Most of them are parasitic mites or other parasites.
While diseases like mange and distemper are passed from animal to animal with mites, they can also be passed through shared animal carcasses.
Mange is the main cause of death by disease for foxes and a fox will only live a couple of months after it contracts the disease.
Other diseases that foxes can get are rabies and scabies.
Territory | Local Food Sources
What a fox eats depends mostly on the territory or region in which it lives. We have broken down a couple of regions as well as their local food sources.
- North America
- South America
The northern part of the Americas is home to red foxes, arctic foxes, and gray foxes.
The local food sources in North America are as follows:
The Arctic Tundra. Foxes that live in the arctic have a very different diet than the foxes in the mainlands.
Arctic foxes live in the treeless portion of the arctic and feed mostly on lemmings, rodents, and fish. They are scavengers who feed on carcasses left behind by animals such as polar bears.
Arctic foxes will forage for vegetation that grows in harsh winter conditions and has even been known to covenant areas that have vegetation almost as if they were garden caretakers. Cool huh?
Red foxes who live in both the arctic and in the mainlands of Northern America feed on a variety of small game mammals such as mice and birds. Do foxes eat rabbits? Yes, foxes eat rabbits in locations where their territory overlaps.
What does a fox eat in America? Foxes in North America that live in bushy areas and grasslands feed on vegetation like roots, wild grasses, nuts, and berries.
The mainland parts of North America have a diverse food supply of small mammals, vegetation and fruits.
There are a couple of species of foxes that live in South America, such as Darwin’s foxes (Darwin discovered a species of fox!) as well as the culpeo fox also called the zorro fox (zorro means fox in Spanish!)
South America has a warmer climate so their food sources are a little different than northern foxes.
They eat primarily hares (rabbits) birds, insects, and lizards.
There a few different fox species in Africa. The most common is the red fox. Africa is also home to the fennec fox and the bat-eared fox.
Africa is a very diverse region with grasslands, bushlands deserts and more. Red foxes in Africa feed on things like hares, rodents, and birds. They also eat berries, wild grasses, and roots.
Fennec foxes and bat-eared foxes have similar diets. They mainly live in the desert region and feed mostly on rodents, insects like ants, termites, scorpions and more. They also eat a variety of birds, small mammals and reptiles like lizards.
Foxes in Asia have a diet similar to foxes that live in Africa and Arabia. Asia is home to the Blandford’s fox and the corsac fox.
These foxes eat a variety of rodents, gerbils, lizards, birds and more.
A species of red fox also lives in Japan, Vulpes vulpes japonica or Vulpes vulpes shrencki, where they have populated and adapted very well.
Japan call foxes kitsunes and have many legends and folklore that surround the mysterious creature.
A study in Hokkaido, at the Shiretoko National Park, revealed that foxes there feed mostly on human-produced food and salmon carcasses from spawning salmon.
Fox Diets by Species | What do Red Foxes Eat
Here is a brief list of four fox species and what they eat (What they eat also depends on the region where they live).
- Red fox diet
- Arctic fox diet
- Gray fox diet
- Fennec fox diet
What do red foxes eat? Red foxes eat a variety of small game mammals such as rodents, rabbits, and birds. They also eat a mixture of fruits, berries, and vegetation such as roots, wild grasses, and nuts. Red foxes occupy many different regions so the question “What do foxes eat?” can be different based on location.
What do arctic foxes eat? Arctic foxes eat mainly lemmings, rodents, and fish. As well as foraged vegetation such as roots, and winter plants. They are opportunistic feeders and will also scavenge for kills leftover by other carnivores such as polar bears.
What do gray foxes eat? Gray foxes live mostly in bushlands and eat small game mammals like rabbits, rodents, and voles. They eat insects like grasshoppers and crickets, as well as fruits and vegetation such as apples, nuts, corn, and wild grasses.
What do fennec foxes eat? Fennec foxes live in the desert region of Africa and eat primarily insects, rodents and lizards. They have huge ears that aid them in listening for their prey underground, catching things like rodents and lizards. A variety of fruits and vegetables can also be fox food for a fennec fox.
Habits | Habitats and How Foxes Hunt
Foxes from different regions have different habits and behaviors, but for the most part, they build their dens and hunt in the same ways.
Foxes dig dens in the ground, whether they are in the bushlands, grasslands or the arctic.
They use their dens mostly for raising kits (Baby foxes) and for mating. They feed their young in their dens by regurgitating food to them while they are very little, and after a few months, they start to leave carcasses in the front of the den.
This helps the little ones fend for themselves and get familiar with the den opening.
In the arctic, foxes dig their dens into the snow where they also raise and feed their young.
The dens can sometimes have multiple openings and they will even dig more than one den in an area and move from den to den to avoid weather and predators.
How Foxes Hunt
Foxes only make one to two kills per week, which is one reason foxes do not live very long lives and often look underfed.
It is tough in the wild for foxes, they themselves are a food source for multiple predators.
Foxes are nocturnal, they hunt at night and are solitary hunters. They do not hunt in packs live wolves. They are very careful and clever to avoid other predators that also hunt during the night time.
The fox has a very unique hunting style, similar to cats. They will hide and wait long periods of time for their prey to show themselves and then leap or jump down onto them, killing them usually with a death blow/bite to the neck.
This makes them different from their other canids relatives such as wild dogs who can be very loud when hunting, biting the prey and then shaking them in their mouths from left to right.
Red foxes have been known to bury their kills and save them for later, sometimes even digging them up multiple times and reburying them just to make sure they’re still there!
They also use chemical communication by marking the areas with urine so they can find them, or let other foxes in their family return to feed.
How Do Arctic Foxes Hunt?
Foxes in the arctic also have a peculiar skillset for hunting, they are able to pounce down into the snow and strike their prey (usually rodents) without even seeing them.
They use the earth’s magnetic fields to triangulate their prey before striking them with a deathblow. Very cool huh? Foxes are basically scientists.
Feeding Kits | What Do Baby Foxes Eat
What are baby foxes called? As mentioned in the glossary of terms, baby foxes are known as “kits” and are sometimes called pups.
After they are born kits do not open their eyes for about 12 days. The kit’s parents will feed them by regurgitating food into their mouths.
Once they are a couple of weeks old, the parents will leave carcasses at the front of the den for them to discover so they will get familiar with the den opening.
By doing this the kits learn how to fend for themselves and feed.
What do baby foxes eat? Baby foxes (Kits) eat regurgitated prey from their parents or other female foxes who hang around to help raise the young.
After this early stage, they learn to forage for food by going out with their parents.
Depending on the time of year they eat fruit, nuts, and rodents.
After about a year the male kits now known as yearlings will leave the group and venture out to start a family of their own.
Females will often stay a little longer, to help raise the kits from different litters. Foxes usually have between 2-6 kits per litter.
Urban Foxes Diet | What Do Urban Foxes Eat
Urban fox is a term for foxes that live in neighborhoods and cities. This is a newer phenomenon, occurring more and more, as their home-ranges are destroyed and replaced with human developments.
What do urban foxes eat? Urban foxes feed on small game mammals like squirrels, rabbits, and rodents. They also feed from waste bins and trashcans and will eat out of people’s gardens.
In London (Where urban foxes have made themselves right at home) residents will often feed foxes from their gardens.
They have also been known to steal food placed out for pets, like cat food and dog food.
Feeding foxes from a garden is probably an ok thing to do since they are getting the fresh vegetables and fruit that they need, but leaving cat food or dog food out for them is generally a bad idea because they do not have Taurine.
Cat food is made from some ingredients that could be bad for foxes (like grains). While dog food offers them fiber and nutrition it is still not advisable to train a wild fox to rely on humans as their main source of food.
They need to rely on their hunting skills for their own food sources while they move in and out of the wild through neighborhoods.
Pet Foxes | Domesticated Foxes
People all around the world keep foxes as pets. Usually, they are adopted from sanctuaries where foxes must remain because they are no longer able to fend for themselves in the wild.
Foxes are sometimes rescued from a fur farm (Fur farms are hideous places that breed foxes in poor conditions in order to harvest their fur for the market).
Or the fox has sustained some type of injury from accidents like falling, or medical conditions from old age.
People also breed (Domesticated foxes) you read that right, foxes have been domesticated through programs in Siberia.
While some are against the domestication of wild animals like foxes, foxes do generally like to be cared for and loved. They will often become attached to their human parents and show endless amounts of affection.
There is a difference between taming a wild animal and domesticating them. Most of the pet fox breeders used foxes from the domestication program, that has existed for nearly 50 years.
However, some of the foxes that exotic pet breeders sell are tamed (raised from birth with humans so they won’t attack you) not domesticated, and these animals could act on their animal instinct in certain situations.
Pet Fox Diet | What Do Pet Foxes Eat | Full Prey Model Raw Diet
What do pet foxes eat? Pet foxes eat a variety of full prey modeled raw meats, such as rabbit, duck, and quail, they need a formulated amount of tendons and muscle.
The ratios are calculated as follows:
A fox diet is 75-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, and 0-5% animal-based fiber.
This type of diet also combines fur/fibers and feathers to simulate their natural prey.
Foxes have a unique digestive pattern where the bones they eat are twisted around by the hair and fibers as it turns into feces keeping the bones from puncturing their insides.
A fox must also have a supplement only found in wild animals called Taurine. You can buy the supplement and add it to their food.
It is also acceptable to feed them grain-free dog kibble once a week, to add fiber to their diets.
You would never feed them just dog food however, they need the high protein from the raw meat sources, which is why the full prey model raw diet is the best choice.
The full prey model raw diet is, however, also acceptable for dogs and cats, as the bones that are offered by companies are processed in a way that they are edible and not harmful.
The formula and ratios of protein and nutrients are different for dogs and cats and must be calculated for their safety.
What are the benefits of a raw diet for dogs, foxes, and cats?
The main benefit is that it eliminates processed foods. Raw prey diets are the most natural way to feed a pet.
Some people argue that it is not ok to feed pets raw meats but they are missing one important fact; these were once wild animals, and believe it or not, they didn’t have Purina dog chow in the wild!
It is not only safe but healthier as long as you stick to the guidelines and ratios that the diets provide.
Allowing your fox to use its canine teeth to tear through the raw meat also helps the overall dental health of your fox.
Fruits and Veggies
Since foxes are omnivores it is also perfectly acceptable to feed them fruits and vegetables.
When formulating your own pet fox diet you will want to make a balanced diet of raw meats, fruits and veggies, and the needed supplements.
Do foxes eat fruit? Foxes eat many types of fruit, blueberries, strawberries and more. Fruit and berries are usually offered as a snack.
Some fox pet owners feed their foxes cherries, as it seems to help with the odor of their urine, but cherry pits are not ok, because they contain amygdalin that can digest into trace amounts of cyanide.
You should avoid feeding them raisins and grapes, however, as it can damage their kidneys.
Do foxes eat vegetables? Yes they do, they seem to love vegetables that they can forage such as wild roots and mushrooms. Vegetables are fed to pet foxes on a daily basis, to balance their diet while fruits are offered as a snack or special treat. Do foxes eat carrots? Yes, foxes eat carrots. Wild foxes eat carrots that they forage and foxes in captivity can be given carrots.
Vegetables are usually given in amounts of teaspoons or tablespoons, a few teaspoons for small foxes like fennec foxes, and few tablespoons for larger foxes.
You will know they are getting too many vegetables if you see vegetable matter in their scat/stool.
Do Foxes Eat Fish?
This is formulated for fox species such as red foxes and arctic foxes. While arctic foxes in the wild eat more fish and other small game mammals, keeping up with a rabbit, duck, quail raw diet is perfectly fine.
Do foxes eat fish? You can also feed them fish, but you would make sure that it is mostly filleted with no sharp bones. If the fox would eat fish in the wild then you can be sure that fish is safe for them.
Avoid feeding any foxes tuna from a can, they have levels of mercury that are dangerous to humans and would be more dangerous for small animals like foxes.
Home Prepared Meals | What Does a Fox Eat
Can you prepare raw meals at home? Absolutely. The trick is getting the right amount of ratios as mentioned before, they need a lot of protein.
While we can offer a fox diet plan, you will also have to tune into the needs of your pet fox. Checking their stool often for deficiencies and monitoring their behavior and weight is a good idea.
When owning an exotic pet that must be taken special care of, it is best to keep a logbook (a fox book) to write down food ratios, weight and behavior.
Pet Fennec Fox Diet
Pet fennec foxes have a different diet than red foxes or arctic foxes. They eat a lot of insects, which mimics their natural diet in the wild.
Fennec foxes are from desert regions and in the wild, they feed mostly on insects and rodents.
What do you feed a fennec fox? Fennec foxes eat dozens of mealworms a day, along with any other easy to obtain insects like crickets and silkworms.
It is also best to stick with a full prey model diet with fennec foxes, though the serving sizes are less than a larger fox.
You also feed fennec foxes eggs, as they rob eggs from nests in the wild. They should be fed a few teaspoons of veggies daily. Just like with other pet foxes you should monitor their stool to make sure there aren’t too many veggie chunks.
Another food source for a pet fennec fox is mice, rats, and gerbils.
Fox Food VS Dogs Food
According to a few pet fox owners that I have interviewed there are certain kinds of dog food and wet cat food that can be fed to foxes.
The problem is a lot of the cat foods are too high in fat and both cat and dog food do not have a lot of calcium that foxes need.
You should contact a veterinarian to find out what kinds of processed foods are safe.
It is ok to feed a pet fox grain-free kibble once a week for the added vitamins that raw meat does not provide.
Most of these products are made from processed materials, and while a fox can survive on some of these, there are still more benefits to a natural diet.
Raw Prey Model Diet: Fox Food
Try the raw prey model diet out for your pet, pet fox, dog, or cat! The benefits of a raw prey model diet can be enjoyed by all of your pets.
This is why we recommend the raw prey model diet for foxes. It’s the most natural way to feed a pet fox.
However, dogs and cats can also be fed a raw prey diet. In fact, it’s also a very healthy natural alternative to processed pet foods.
Why You Should Switch
If you’re a dog lover and fox lover, there are many reasons to switch your dog to a natural raw prey model diet.
Dogs and foxes are related and their ancestors ate only raw prey (in the wild that’s all there is).
Cats can also benefit from a raw prey diet in the same way and for the same reasons as a dog or fox.
Cats were also once wild creatures, whose diets were purely raw prey. The ratios of muscle, organs, etc are the same for foxes, dogs, and cats.
The difference in their diet is the size of portions, which should be figured out and calculated on your own.
If you are switching, you can contact a veterinarian to ask questions and to help formulate your new raw diet plan.
Foxes in Captivity Diet
What do foxes in captivity eat? Most sanctuaries and rescues that raise foxes use the same type of raw prey model diet, keeping to rabbits, quail, and duck.
Depending on the type of fox, arctic fox, fennec, or red fox, they might change a few parts of the diet, adding fish or insects.
Foxes that live in captivity live much longer lives than those in the wild. Mostly because they get a proper diet, where they are fed daily, whereas foxes in the wild make 1-2 kills per week, leaving them without enough protein.
Foxes in captivity also have access to exotic animal veterinarian assistance that monitors their health and gives advice on how to raise exotic animals.
If you would like to help donate to sanctuaries and rescues visit our donation page here.
We believe in spreading the word about getting financial help to people who work hard (oftentimes using their own money) to give these foxes better lives.
A few of them even purchase foxes from fur farms, just to save them from being slaughtered. What a noble and selfless act. Hats off to them.
You could make a difference in the lives of many animals who depend on donations.
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All Things Foxes is not a veterinarian and information in this article is gathered from pet fox owners. If you have questions about exotic pet diets or an animal that is sick or wounded, consult an exotic pet veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do foxes eat cats? Not usually. Foxes who are raised as pets, generally have love towards their owners and other pets in the house, and wild foxes steer clear of picking fights with cats.
Do foxes eat eggs? Yes, foxes eat eggs. They rely on things like eggs in the wild, and can also be fed to foxes in captivity. Even the shells can be eaten by foxes to give them calcium.
Potatoes can be bad for foxes and for dogs. If you are going to feed potatoes to foxes make sure they are cooked and only feed them a small amount.
Do foxes eat apples? Yes! Foxes love apples and they make a great treat for foxes in captivity.