In summer you may notice that you see more foxes than in the other seasons. Summer is a fantastic time for foxes and a great time for us to see them going about their normal lives.
Young cubs will have grown their coat in summer and will be out learning to hunt with their family. There is an abundance of food for foxes during the summer, and can often be seen in gardens feeding on insects or fruit.
The lives of foxes vary throughout the year so I wanted to find out what they do in summer. If you want to find out please read on. If not, here is a fantastic video of foxes on a trampoline to watch.
Do Foxes Like Summer?
Foxes can often be found in summer when the weather is hot laying around hedgerows, long grass, and brambles. Many urban foxes can also be found in urban areas in gardens and on the roofs of garages and outbuildings sunning themselves.
This is in contrast to the colder weather where foxes will stay in dens, only coming out to feed for brief periods above ground. Strong winds make it difficult to detect predators and other dangers. Foxes have excellent hearing and the noise of the wind around them can often mask the sound of a potential threat.
Foxes rely on their hearing and without hearing rustling in the grass because of the strong wind they may also have trouble finding prey. Foxes don’t like the rain and will often stay in their dens, but in summer will often cool down in puddles.
What Do Foxes Eat In Summer?
Foxes are happiest in summer as there is plenty of food, and the cubs have time to learn how to hunt. Foxes are mainly nocturnal and hunt at night and the family will come out of their den to find food. Foxes will use their sense of smell to find prey and you may often see them with their noses down as they check for scents.
Foxes have a large range of foods that they will eat including insects, with one of their favorites being earthworms. When the weather is damp foxes will feast on earthworms which can be found at the surface in large numbers.
Worms don’t make it easy however for the fox as they keep their tails below ground while they feed on the grass and leaves, using small bristles to keep them anchored in the dirt. However, foxes can feed on hundreds of worms in one evening, sustaining them for the whole day.
In summer foxes will also feed on young rabbits. Rabbits are born around this time and many can be found feeding on the grass. Another food that foxes like to feed on is young birds that have landed on the floor and are not strong enough to get back to their nests.
Foxes will also feed on rodents including voles and shrews. These can be found in long grassy areas around the edges of fields and there can be hundreds in a foxes territory.
Foxes also use their hearing to find food. A fox will freeze in one place and listen for any movement. Once they know where the sound is coming from they will leap into the air pouncing on their prey.
Summer is the best time for foxes to hunt and often catch more than what they need. Foxes will cache their food to eat later, either burying the whole animal or pieces of them. The fox can then dig them up later to eat even if they have become smelly.
Foxes are also known to kill chickens and will force their way into hen houses. Foxes will also eat other birds including ground-nesting seabirds such as gulls, also feeding on the eggs. As large colonies breed at the same time summer gives foxes an almost unlimited supply of eggs and young chicks.
Foxes will also feed on fruits and in summer when fruits are ripening foxes may often be seen in gardens stealing soft fruit such as strawberries. In late summer they also feed on apples that have fallen off the tree as well as blackberries and raspberries.
Foxes although mostly carnivorous are actually omnivores and will feed wherever they can. Foxes will often feed on whatever takes them the least effort to find and kill.
Ever wondered why foxes scream? You can find out in this article I wrote.
How Far Will Foxes Travel In Summer?
The range of a wild fox can be up to three or 4 km² but due to the abundance of food in urban areas, urban foxes have a much smaller home range. In some areas, the range may be larger or smaller depending on the amount of food.
Foxes will not travel the whole of their range every night, preferring to travel in one or two parts of the area. On subsequent nights they may visit other parts of their range.
Foxes will come out of their dens at dusk and are out most of the night. The home range of a fox can include many different types of habitat, including fields, woodland, and urban areas such as gardens. Foxes will keep their nose down close to the ground to pick up scents, and can often be seen walking in zig-zags when walking around their territory.
Although there is plenty of food for foxes in summer they may visit other areas before coming back to their home territory. These journeys are often to visit feeding places that they know are particularly good such as rubbish tips.
What Do Cubs Do In Summer?
Cubs will normally stay with the mother until September or October, but some female cubs will stay to help raise the next generation. Cubs will learn to hunt from watching and copying the adults.
If you want more information on how fox cubs learn, I have written an article which you can find here.
Male cubs do not normally stay with the mother and will often travel long distances to establish their own territory. Some young males have been known to travel over 100 km.
For urban foxes, the distance is often much less due to the higher population density, and may sometimes only move a couple of kilometers from their family.
Foxes can often be seen during summer traveling to their new territory using man-made structures including roads, bridges, and paths.
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