Red Fox

Smart, quick, and adaptable

The red fox is the smallest of the three canids found in Yellowstone. They are not dangerous to the much larger wolves. Wolf kills are an important food source for foxes so they are sometimes killed by wolves as competitors. They are less common than coyotes. However, with the return of wolves to Yellowstone, coyote numbers have declined and now more foxes can be found in the park. Red foxes are smart, adaptable, and hard to catch. They tend to be more nocturnal than their chief rivals, the coyotes.

Red foxes keep their distance from the larger canids, wolves and coyotes. You might hear a red fox bark at night.

Quick Facts

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

The red fox is the smallest of the three canids (wolves, coyotes, foxes) living in Yellowstone. Some red fox are solitary; others live in pairs or in small family groups. Foxes bark but rarely howl or sing like wolves or coyotes.

  • SIZE: Foxes weigh only 4-6 kg (10-12 lbs) and about 109cm (43”) long.

  • TOP SPEED: 50 kph (31 mph).

  • DIET: Omnivore (eats meat and plants); rodents, birds, amphibians, plants, berries and carrion.

Red Foxes in WolfQuest

Foxes can be seen trotting through the wilderness and eating at carcasses. Occasionally you may spot one “mousing” in the grass or snow.

Even though most fox enemies (coyotes, wolves, mountain lions) are faster on open ground, foxes are agile and quite cautious, making them very hard to catch.

Wolves do not eat foxes or other carnivores (they probably don’t taste as good).

Foxes will not trouble wolf pups. Fox dens and pups are not seen in the game.

Red fox yowls at night

Red fox are not as vocal as wolves or coyotes.

audio credit: NPS / Shan Burson