The fox is one of Ireland's most widespread predators. It is the size of a small dog, with reddish-brown upper fur, a pale belly, and a long bushy tail with a white tip. Its ears are erect with black tips and backs. It is mainly nocturnal but is also described as crepuscular, which means it is active at dusk and dawn.
Its history in Ireland?
It was probably brought to Ireland 6,000 years ago by Neolithic man for its fur and one of its Irish names is Madra rua meaning 'red dog’. Although it has no legal protection and many are killed each year on the road network, the fox population appears to be relatively stable.
Where does it live?
Foxes are found in a wide range of habitats, such as woodlands, uplands, arable land and even cities, where they hide away under garden sheds. Foxes spend a lot of their time above ground but they excavate underground dens called ‘earths’, which they use in bad weather and to rear their young, called cubs.
What does it eat?
Although a carnivore, the fox eats a range of food, so can also be called ‘an omnivore’. It eats rabbits, rodents, sheep carrion, fruit, earthworms and, in towns and cities, food waste from humans.
Have a look at the two fox clubs playing at a site in Tipperary. This was captured on a trail cam with thanks to Eco Fact.
To learn more about Irish mammals and the work being done to protect them go to Vincent Wildlife Trust.
The photo was taken by their officer Ruth Hanniffy.