From beloved children’s books to Norwegian dance songs, foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are ever-present in popular culture as a symbol of woodland cunning and are widespread across most of the Northern Hemisphere. But what do you call a baby fox?
Foxes are members of the family Canidae, which also includes wolves and coyotes. Twelve species fall into the Vulpes genus, being referred to as the “true foxes”. The second largest genus, Lycalopex, has six species, which are all native to South America.
Male foxes are referred to as dog foxes, while females are given the name vixens. Males and females will mate in the winter, in December and January. They are famously noisy, often waking people with their vocalizations, which can resemble human screams. By February the vixens will be pregnant, and will start looking for a suitable den to give birth. These dens can be anything from a hole in the woods to the space underneath your garden shed.
Most foxes give birth in the spring after a gestation period of around 50 days. Litter sizes can vary, but usually 3-6 offspring are born.
What do you call a baby fox?
Well, it seems no one is really sure. The consensus is that "cub", "pup", and "kit" are all correct terms for a red fox baby. Recently published literature uses all three names, while in the UK, the British Mammal Society sticks to the term cubs as does the BBC in popular British wildlife shows such as Springwatch.
Across the pond, The National Wildlife Federation in the US uses the word pups for their mammal guide about the red fox, while the Humane Society refers to baby foxes as kits.
If you’d like to weigh in on the topic, we’ve taken to social media to outsource the answer.
Be sure to let us know which one you pick.