Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Victorian Conservation Status: Secure

Red Foxes were introduced to Australia in the 1870s. By the 1890s they had become widespread feral pests. They are among the most successful predators in the world and have caused devastating declines in native animal populations. They also thrive in disturbed and fragmented habitats and carry diseases such as mange, which affects wombats and dingos. Programs to control foxes by poisoning, shooting and trapping have reduced numbers but will probably never eradicate them, since they quickly repopulate.

Did you know?

Red Foxes

  • are feral pests in urban and rural Victoria
  • are excellent hunters with very sharp senses
  • live in large family groups
  • are omnivores, they hunt rabbits and native animals, scavenge carrion, and eat insects and fruits
  • weigh 4.0–8.3 kg and their body is about 57–74 cm long

Where they live

Red Foxes live across much of southern Australia. They are found wherever habitats are patchy, including rural and urban areas.

Amazing Red Foxes

Originally released near Melbourne by sporting shooters, Red Foxes have invaded the southern half of Australia. They reproduce quickly and can eat almost anything. In the Mallee they eat the eggs and young of endangered Malleefowls, defeating programs to release birds raised in captivity.

Red Foxes are skilled predators thanks to their keen vision, sense of smell, speed and climbing ability. By day they shelter in hollows and old rabbit burrows, emerging at dusk to hunt. They live in family groups comprising a dominant male and female and their cubs.

Red Foxes breed once a year between July and October. The dominant female gives birth to 4–10 blind and helpless pups. The mother suckles the pups for 4–5 weeks, and they remain hidden in the den while the father brings food to them. In summer, young foxes disperse up to 30 km away from their family group to establish their own territories, which they mark with a strong, distinctive scent. 

The red coat and bushy tail of Red Foxes are also a common sight in urban areas such as parks and backyards. Here food is plentiful and there can be 12 foxes per square kilometre. This species thrives in patchy, disturbed habitats such as farmlands or near roads and generally does not live in dense forests.

Other Victorian Mallee animals

Explore the Victorian environments

Trees along a river bank

Dry forest

There are many types of dry forests in Victoria including stringybark, red gum, grassy woodlands and the remnants of the once great box–ironbark forests.

Birds stand on black rocks in water

Coastal wetlands

Victoria’s coastal wetlands are significant places for wildlife, with many listed in international conventions to protect the habitat of migratory birds.

Snow covered mountains


The Victorian Alps extend from the plateaus of Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw to peaks such as Mt Feathertop and the headwaters of the Murray River.

Plains Flax Lily


When the first Europeans arrived in Victoria there were grasslands on the vast, undulating western plains, on the northern plains and in Gippsland.

Mallee vegetation


The Victorian Mallee in the north-western corner of the state has a mosaic of vegetation types adapted to low rainfall and sandy soils.

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