Gray foxes are found in deciduous woodlands, but are occasionally seen in old fields foraging for fruits and insects. They live in areas of logs, where they can make their dens. They do not provide agricultural areas, like the red fox.
The gray fox eats a wide variety of food. It consumes the eastern cottontail, voles, field mice, shrews, and birds. They also consumer whatever fruits are readily available and eat more vegetable matter than red foxes. It is mainly hunted by humans, coyotes, lynx, and bobcats.
The gray fox is a solitary hunter and hunts alone for small animals but also searches for fruits.
Factors Which Affect the Birth Rate of the Gray Fox
The gray fox mating period varies according to the area that they inhabit. It usually occurs around late winter and early spring. If they are in an area that is inhabited by both red and gray foxes, then they mate around 2-4 weeks after the red fox mates.
Gray foxes breed once per year.
The gray foxes gestation period lasts about 53 days.
The average amount in a litter of gray foxes is about 3.8, and range from 1 to 7 pups.
A gray fox female cares for her young by making a den in a hollow log or tree, under a rock pile, or by using an underground burrow. The female carries her young for around two months. The female will nurse her offspring, and the male will bring her food. Once the young fox is about 3 months old, they start to hunt with their parents. At around 4 months, the young fox can hunt for itself. The family of foxes remains together for about 6 months, or around autumn, and then the young separate from their parents.
The gray fox begins its reproduction once it reaches maturity, which is when they are about a year old. It continues to reproduce for the majority of its life until it is too old, at about once per year.
Factors Which Affect the Death Rate of Gray Fox
The gray fox’s main predator is the coyote. They prey on the gray fox, and are more dangerous. Other large carnivores such as the lynx and bobcats prey foxes. The gray fox also competes with the red fox for food.
It usually lives about 6 to 10 years.
The gray fox serves as a host to over thirty different external parasites that include lice, ticks, mites, chiggers and fleas. Internal parasites include roundworms, flatworms, tapeworms and acanthocephalans. These cause the fox to lose weight and look sickly.
Over-population could affect the gray fox because they already compete with the red fox for food. If there are too many foxes there will not be enough food for both species to eat, although they gray fox can survive on vegetative foods.
Food Chain The nuts and berries would be the autotroph in this food chain. The mouse would be the primary consumer that eats the berries and nuts. The gray fox would be the secondary consumer that is an omnivore, who eats the mouse. The human is the tertiary consumer that hunts the fox that is also a omnivore. Producer Autotroph Primary Consumer Omnivore Secondary Consumer Omnivore Tertiary Consumer Omnivore
Food Web of Gray Fox In this food web, the producers are grass, berries, and nuts. The fox (omnivore) would eat the berries and nuts, the rabbit (herbivore) would eat the grass, the deer (herbivore) would eat the grass, the mouse (omnivore) would eat the berries, nuts, and grass, the golden eagle (carnivore) would eat the rabbit and mouse, the bobcat (carnivore) would eat the fox and the rabbit, and the decomposer would eat all the animals that have died. Herbivore Producer Herbivore Omnivore Producer Carnivore Decomposer Producer Carnivore Omnivore
To sample the population of an animal, ecologist use the catch, mark, and release method. They catch the animal, mark it, and then release the animal. Then they continue to catch the animals and see if they are marked. They also use the birth rate of the animals to see how many there are.
They use the catch, mark and release method to see how many gray foxes there are. They also use the amount of foxes that are hunted.
The graph represents that the stream is in very good condition and is a healthy stream.
There is a large number of class I organisms which are pollution intolerant. There is a fair amount of class II organisms which can live in many different stream qualities. There are no class III organisms which live in poor quality water.
The stream conditions would be good for the gray fox because there would be plentiful food for the fox to eat and it would be able to drink healthy water.
The gray fox and the ecosystem would be affected if the majority of the organisms found were in class III because the water would be unhealthy and the animals that the gray fox eats would die off and then the gray fox would eventually die off.
If the nitrate level is high, then it means that the water is not healthy. The lower the temperature is of the water, the lower the dissolved oxygen level, making the stream healthier. If the pH level is in the middle, then that makes it healthy. A low phosphate level also shows that the water quality is good.
The ideal pH level is 6.5-7.5. The ideal range for dissolved oxygen is 10-15. There should be a low number of phosphates and nitrates in the water for it to be considered healthy.
The gray fox would survive very well if it’s habitat were close to the stream because it’s very healthy and there would be plenty for it to eat. It would most likely not survive very well if it’s habitat were close to the mine or marsh because the water wouldn’t be healthy and there wouldn’t be plenty to eat.
If there is a low turbidity it would be healthy water, and the stream water temperature should be relatively low.
The current stream, marsh & mine waters would affect the gray fox is in a positive way because the water is very healthy keeping all the levels below the gray fox healthy and abundant so the gray fox will always have food.
Soil conditions at the riparian zone would affect the gray fox because it eats fruits and seeds. If they are not growing properly, then the fox will have nothing to eat. The gray fox also eats smaller animals that eat plant and if they die, then so will the gray fox.
Factors that positively affect the riparian zone are things like Powdermill Nature Reserve recycling all their water using a marsh system. Factors that negatively affect the riparian zone are acid mine drainage and farmland run off. Farmland run off can be reduced by farmers using less fertilizers in their crops so it does not get into the stream. This would affect the gray fox because it will eventually make the gray fox sick if it drinks the water and it will not have food to eat if they die off from the polluted water.
Encyclopedia.com. 16. May 2010. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/fox.aspx>
Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 16. May 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/242673/gray-fox>
Jansa, Sharon. "Urocyon Cinereoargenteus." Animal Diversity. Web. U of Michigan of Zoology, 2008. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/ Urocyon_cinereoargenteus.html>.