Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I’m Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The red fox is a solitary predator that may hunt over about 250-600 acres, depending on the quality of its habitat. The warmer Florida environment probably results in less seasonal variation in movements than in snow-covered areas of the north. Red foxes feed primarily on mice, but take other small rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes, lizards, insects, and a diversity of fruits. It's an opportunist, and occasionally gets in trouble by taking chickens and other small domestic animals. Red foxes use hearing to locate mice and have hearing very sensitive to low sounds, such as the gnawing of a rodent. They also have a strong preference for animals that have been dead for a few days and fruits that have fallen and begun to decay. The latter preferences may get them in trouble; sometimes they're accused of killing prey which they found dead. While the red fox's prime habitat is a mosaic of farmland and woodlots, they're also found in large metropolitan areas. They often hunt along highways, taking advantage of the smorgasbord of carrion provided, but also sometimes becoming a victim of the traffic that provides their meals.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.