Goose Creek Lake Wildlife - Foxes

Updated: 11/30/2017

The red fox is dog-like in appearance with an elongated, pointed muzzle, large, pointed ears that are usually held erect and forward, moderately long legs, and a long, heavily furred, bushy tail that is circular in cross section. The fur is long, thick, and soft. The pupil of the eye is vertically elliptical. Upper-parts are reddish yellow, becoming slightly darker on the back. The tail is similar but mixed with black and tipped with white. The nose pad is black and the backs of the ears blackish. The cheeks, throat, and belly are whitish. The legs and feet are black. The iris of the eye is tawny.

In Missouri, nearly all individuals exhibit the typical red color. Black, silver, and other color variations are possible, especially in the commercial fur industry, but the only alternate color phase represented in our state is the very rare cross fox, which has a dark band down the back and across the shoulders. All of the several alternate color phases have a white tail tip.

Similar species: The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) has a grayish coloration, slightly smaller size, black-tipped tail that is triangular (not circular) in cross-section, and a dark brown (not tawny) iris of the eye, and coarse body fur.

Size: Total length: 12½–46 inches; tail length: 11½–16 inches; weight: 7½–15 pounds. Males are slightly larger and heavier than females.