eastern gray fox

(Urocyon cinereoargenteneus cinereoargenteneus)


This species is slightly smaller than the red fox with an average weight of 8 pounds and a total length of 34-40 inches. The fur is grizzled gray above, white to ashy below, and lighter gray to reddish on the neck and sides. It has a long bushy tail with a median black stripe, and a black tip. The breeding season is from January-April with peaks in February. A litter of 2-7 pups are born from March-May in a whelping den which may have grass, leaves or bark as a nesting material. They are primarily nocturnal animals and are most active at dawn and dusk. They are adept climbers, and use trees to escape enemies. Barks, yaps and yips are the frequent vocalizations. Life span in the wild is 1 1/2 to 3 years.


They are found in all areas with appropriate habitat in Virginia. This species prefers upland woods, ‘pine’ and uses riparian habitats and swamps.


This is an opportunistic consumer. The diet varies with the season, and relative abundance of foods. Animal matter is most important in the winter and spring. Insects and fruit are important in the summer and fall. Cottontails are an important food and they eat more birds than the red fox.