Your Florida Backyard NSiS Home Page Your Florida Backyard Foxes, Coyotes, & Wolves
Members of this family (Canidae) have long, bushy tails and 42 teeth (the canines are well developed). Like their domesticated counterparts, dogs, they can carry rabies, distemper, sarcoptic and demodectic mange, leptospirosis, and canine heartworm.
 

 
The Coyote, Canis latrans, naturally expanded its range into Florida in the 1970's. It is now found throughout the state, primarily in fields, pastures, and other open areas. It is light to reddish gray with rust colored ears and legs, a black-tipped tail, and a lighter colored underside. It is 41-52" long overall.
 
It digs large dens, tunnelling 10-20 feet and creating a nest chamber at the end. There are at least two entrances, each about 10" wide and 20" high.
 
Rabbits and rodents make up most of its diet but it is an opportunistic feeder. It also eats reptiles, amphibians, birds, fruit (persimmons, grapes, blackberries, and pawpaws), seeds, and carrion.
 
Breeding occurs in late winter or early spring with a litter of 2-12 pups born about 60 days later. Both parents tend the young (and may remain together for life). The pups stay with the parents for about six months.
 
Predators are man and dogs.
 

 
The Gray Fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, are found in densely wooded areas through the state except for the Keys. It is silver gray with reddish sides and a white underside. It has a pointed muzzle and a long (10-16"), bushy tail with a black stripe and tip. It is 31-44" long.
 
It is primarily nocturnal, sending the daylight hours in an underground den or hollow log. The gray fox is agile and fast. It can run 30mph for short distances. It climbs trees to escape predators, to rest, and to pursue prey.
 
Cottontail and marsh rabbits make up most of its diet which also includes rice and cotton rats, deer mice, insects, songbirds, acorns, and fruits such as persimmons, grapes, hawthorns, and pawpaws.
 
Breeding occurs during the winter producing a litter of 1-7 pups about 53 days later. When the pups are 5-6 weeks old, the male assists with food gathering. They will stay together until late summer.
 
Predators are man and dogs.
 
The Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is found in neglected citrus groves and pine and oak woods statewide except for the Keys. It is sandy red with a white underside. The end of the long (11-16") tail is black with a white tip. Its cheeks and throat are white and its legs and feet are black. Its muzzle and ears are pointed. It is 33-43" long.
 
It is primarily nocturnal. Its den is usually 20-40 feet long and has more than one entrance.
 
The red fox's diet is composed mainly of rabbits, rats, and mice. It also eats birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fruit. It caches food on occasion.
 
Red foxes are monogamous, apparently for life. They breed in late winter or early spring, producing a litter of 1-10 pups about 53 days later. At about 6 months of age, the pups move off on their own.
 
Predators include man, dogs, and bobcats.
 

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