- The sneaky chicken thief
The fox is best known as the sneaky chicken thief who creeps into the chicken coop at night and kills all the chickens. If there is an abundance of prey in one place, like in the chicken coop, the fox can kill more animals than it can eat. Then it will bury the rest of the prey and retrieve it later. The fox's tarnished reputation as a chicken thief has probably contributed in giving it a rather clichéd role in many fairytales and fables. Here it usually plays a sly fellow who often outwits the other animals. The fox has given its name to the expression ”sly fox” which is used to refer to people who are not to be trusted.
Eats wild birds' eggs and chicks
The fox is active at night, and although it lives mostly off mice and other rodents, it can also loot wild ground-nesting birds' nests for eggs and chicks. Therefore, many species of geese, ducks, gulls, terns and waders like to breed on islands in large lakes to avoid the fox. Predation by foxes can be a problem for stocks of rare and vulnerable breeding birds in the Wadden Sea area.
The fox has also moved to the town, where you can see it around the residential areas and in gardens and parks. In the urban environment, the fox still catches mice, but it can also go hunting in the rubbish, and might take pets like guinea pigs and rabbits. The fox is not dangerous to humans and will not attack dogs and cats.
Fox scabies and rabies
Previously, the fox has been associated with rabies. No foxes have been found with rabies in Denmark since the mid-1970s. Fox scabies is a common disease in foxes, which is a skin mite and causes itching of the coat, and subsequent hair loss. If a fox gets scabies, large bare patches will form on its skin, and it will die within a few months.
Tracks: Fox footprints can often be confused with dog footprints, but the fox's tracks are more elongated and finer, and the pads are smaller. The track is approximately 4-4.5 cm wide and about 5 cm long. Fox scat is 8-10 cm, long, sausage-shaped and often twisted at one end. In the scat, you can often see pieces of bones, feathers, wing cases of beetles or seeds from fruits.
Facts: The fox is the size of a small dog. It has a thick reddish-brown coat with a white chest and a big bushy tail with a black tip. It is common throughout Denmark. It builds a foxhole with several exits, where it gives birth and raises its pups. It is almost omnivorous and lives on small mammals, birds, carcasses and waste.