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Red Fox Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Red foxes live in many different types of environments, so how exactly do they survive everyday life in these different habitats? Learn about some of their adaptations in this lesson.

Adapting

Think about the type of environment you live in. You may live in an urban city, a suburb or a rural farm setting. In any case, you have become accustomed to the way of live there. You know, in general, what the weather will be like, what the people are like and the best places to eat. This is because you have adapted to your environment. Red foxes have made adaptations to their environments, as well.

Red foxes live in all kinds of environments, from the prairies and deserts to icy tundra and wooded forests. Some red foxes live in cities or farms, just like people. They are able to adjust to new habitats easily because their adaptations help them survive their day-to-day lives.

Vision & Hearing

Oh, the better to see you with, my dear! Oh, the better to hear you with, my dear!

Sound familiar? You might recognize these lines from the story of 'Little Red Riding Hood'. Seeing and hearing are just two of the red fox's greatest adaptations. Foxes have excellent vision, which can be attributed to their vertical pupils, the centers of the eyes where light enters. You have pupils, too. They look like little black dots in the middle of your eyes. A fox's pupil looks like a vertical slit, and it allows the fox to gauge distance very well, which helps with hunting.

Notice how the pupil of the red fox is vertical and different than yours.
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Did you know that a fox can hear a watch ticking 120 feet away? This is because they have large, upright ears and an excellent sense of hearing. A red fox's hearing allows it to hear low frequency sounds, which are sounds that are lower than what a human being can hear. This helps with hunting for food, as they are able to hear the tiniest mouse digging underground.

Communication

While foxes may not be able to speak, they are able to communicate with fellow foxes using 28 different sounds, such as yelps, yapping sounds and growls. It is like they have their own secret language! Another way that foxes communicate is by making scent stations. Don't get excited - scent stations don't smell good. Scent stations are made when the fox urinates at a particular spot to let other foxes know that it's there.

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