Hungry Fox Face Plants in the Snow but Bags a Hidden Meal

Red fox pouncing on prey in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
© Michelle Holihan/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: February 15, 2024

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There must be an easier and less painful way of hunting than the one we see in this clip! A fox has spotted some prey beneath the snow and decides to attack. The bad news is that the fox gets a faceful of snow for its efforts. On the plus side, the attack was successful, and the skillful predator bagged a frozen supper!

Watch the Snow Dive Now

How Many Different Types of Foxes Are There?

Foxes are small-to-medium-sized mammals in the Canidae family and are, therefore, a distant relative of domestic dogs. There are 12 species of what we refer to as ‘true’ foxes, and they are in the Vulpes genus. These include the arctic fox, pale fox, and swift fox. The most common, however, is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), of which there are over 45 recognized subspecies. The name ‘fox’ comes from the Proto-Germanic word ‘fuhsaz’ meaning ‘thick-haired’.

As you would expect, with so many species and subspecies, the appearance of foxes is very variable. However, they all have distinctive long snouts, pointed ears, and bushy tails. They have a reputation for being sneaky (“as wily as a fox”), but this is only because they are intelligent and are able to take advantage of most environments that they find themselves in. In the wild, they live for six or seven years, but individuals in captivity have lived for 13 years.

What Do Foxes Normally Eat?

Fox Teeth-Red Fox Eating

Foxes hunt rodents and rabbits but also eat plants.

©iStock.com/JMrocek

The hunting strategy used by the fox in the above clip is typical of the species. They know how to hunt in the snow! Foxes have been seen jumping three feet in the air in order to gain momentum to reach prey three feet under the snow. They even do a quick calculation of the prey’s speed and trajectory so that they land in precisely the right spot.

These guys are omnivores, so they eat both plant and animal material. When it comes to plants, they eat fruits, berries, and acorns. However, their preference is for meat when it is available. They hunt rodents and rabbits as well as birds and frogs. You may also see them hunting insects and reptiles.

Urban foxes take full advantage of food waste in our garbage, and foxes near agricultural areas are famous for stealing domestic birds. Foxes eat as much and as often as possible. They can finish off over two pounds of food a day.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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