Identification of Foxes
All sightings and any possible evidence of fox activity should be reported immediately. Ring the 24 hour hotline on 1300 FOX OUT (1300 369 688)
Adults measure a little over a metre in length, including the tail, and weigh between 4.5 and 8.3 kg; males are usually larger than females. Very young cubs (see left) closely resemble kittens and have a short, dark grey fur coat and rounded face.
By the time they are 12 weeks old, the coat has changed from dark grey through chocolate to the typical reddish coat of the adults, and their rounded faces develop the pointed nose typical of the adult.
The pictures below show how easy it can be to confuse native or domestic animals with foxes. Visitors to Tasmania sometimes mistakenly identify animals as foxes, often as the animals are unfamiliar and in the case of possums, possibly because the populations in their home states have declined due to fox activity.
Note on the image below how the tops of the outer toes of a fox would not extend beyond a line drawn along the bottom of the inner toes, whereas on the dog’s paw, the tops of the outer toes are higher than the bottom of the inner toes.
The contents of scats reflect what was eaten as much as what animal produced them. Devil scats usually contain relatively large chunks of bone and are often dropped at latrines (traditional dropping places) whilst dog scats usually show evidence of processed food. Blackberries are a favourite food of foxes and in season can be predominant in scats.
Fox scats also have a distinct, pungent odour since they are often used to mark sites. Typically, foxes drop a scat at a feeding or cache site, even on top of a carcass. Quolls sometimes also do this.
In mature foxes it is golden yellow; in juveniles it is paler yellow but still intense. Separation of the eyes is also quite obvious (see photo).
Eastern quoll also have bright eyeshine but it is more silver and the eyes are very close. Foxes are more inclined to face a strong light if it is not centred on them, and the use of fox whistles can aid in getting a fox to face a light.
Larger prey such as lambs typically have just their face, tail and/or ears eaten, and calves may just have their tongue and lips eaten whilst being born. Other species such as dogs, cats, devils, quolls, ravens and birds of prey may scavenge on a fox kill, inflicting different types of damage and thus confusing the evidence.
Contact: Invasive Species EnquiriesInvasive Species Branch
171 Westbury Road
PROSPECT TAS 7250
Phone: 03 6336 5320
Fax: 03 6336 5453
Media enquiries should be directed to 03 6233 3625.
Report all fox sightings and any evidence of fox activity to 1300 FOX OUT (1300 369 688)
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