What Do Red Foxes Eat? (And What Can’t They Eat?)

Red foxes are carnivores. Because of their carnivorous diet, foxes eat many kinds of meat, but they also eat scavenged foods like fruits and nuts. Red foxes do not typically eat garden vegetables. The red fox hunts prey and forages all food in the wild. You must emulate this expansive diet if you ever plan on keeping a red fox in captivity.

Common foods the red fox eats include chickens, fish, eggs, melons, and various vegetables. Sometimes, foxes can be effective “vegetarians”, depending on the environment that they live in and the availability of prey. Vegetarian foxes typically make up for their lack of meat consumption by consuming other proteins and nutrients, such as nuts and eggs. 

Owning a red fox as a pet is a commitment, especially feeding them a well-balanced meal that emulates their life before domestication. You must adequately give your wild canine companion the proteins, vitamins, and nutrients in a way that they can sufficiently fulfill their predatory instincts. Providing them cooked and human-prepared meats or vegetables can be uncomfortable or upsetting.

What Do Red Foxes Eat? (And What Can’t They Eat?)

The red fox is a carnivore who will eat many foods to support their varying diets. Although they are natural carnivores, they can also support themselves by eating other foods based on their habitat.

Foxes Are Carnivores

Foxes are carnivores, meaning meat makes up the largest part of the fox’s diet. Consuming meat and hunting small prey like bunnies and rats are their main way of getting protein.

If you’re keeping a fox in captivity, you must emulate this diet with the proper proteins to ensure your fox thrives.

Foxes Can Be Vegetarians

If there is a lack of meat in the area, a red fox may adapt to become a vegetarian. They are highly intelligent and adaptive to their environment. So, if they notice they cannot support themselves with meat, they will adapt to survive on fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Without meat as their primary source of protein, they typically turn to other sources such as eggs, nuts, and protein-rich vegetables.

Foxes Are Scavengers

The red fox is a natural scavenger who scavenge for berries, melons, and nuts. In addition to their carnivorous diet, fruits and vegetables provide the necessary nutrients and support they need for a healthy diet.

How Often Do Foxes Eat?

Foxes eat every day after the sun falls. They become the most active in the evening, but they may also hunt during the day. They determine their hunting strategy by their place in their local food chain. In other words, they observe nearby predators and prey, and then they decide whether it is a better idea to venture out during the day or night.

A fox must generally eat every day and will do so.

How Do Foxes Eat?

Foxes eat by using their sharp teeth to cut and rip food. They don’t really chew their food, cut rip it into pieces that are the right size for swallowing. Their sharp teeth are great for tearing through flesh and tendons.

A red fox can even eat bones and will use its strong jaw to crush and grind some of the smaller bones of its prey. This is a great source of calcium.

As a pet owner, you can feed your pet fox raw meat. It is a normal part of their everyday diet in the wild and is great for their bodily systems. The canine’s sharp teeth are made for chewing this efficiently.

What Red Foxes Eat

Red foxes have an expansive diet of meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and more. Most of their diet consists of meat because of their carnivorous ways. However, they can get their protein elsewhere and even have a somewhat vegetarian diet in some rare cases. 

Foxes Eat Meat

Red foxes are fond of eating everything from red meat all the way to white fish. The red fox is a motivated and adaptive hunter who uses its sharp teeth to rip through its prey’s flesh. They are eager to gain protein by hunting birds, fish, and small mammals. Foxes will also prey upon and eat meat from other animals. 

In the wild, red foxes prey on mostly small animals such as:

  • Rodents such as rabbits, mice, rats, gophers, groundhogs, squirrels, and chipmunks
  • Crayfish, fish, frogs, toads, lizards and amphibians
  • Many types of birds and especially birds eggs
  • Insects

If you keep a fox as a pet, it is strongly recommended to feed it raw meat. It’s always a good idea to try and emulate the kind of prey a fox hunts in nature, but a fox will really eat any kind of raw meat.

Common meats that people feed pet foxes are:

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lamb

But remember that the fox eats these meats raw!

Foxes Eat Pet Food

Urban foxes are accustomed to stealing the food of pets. If you leave out the remnants of your pet’s food, it is common for the wild canine to approach your yard at night and eat the leftovers.

Eating from your dog’s food bowl (or other pet) can be dangerous because eating after a fox with a disease can infect your domestic dog.

Owning a pet fox means that you should keep their diet as close to their natural diet as possible. However, you can also make dog food a part of their diet – but only as a supplement!

Foxes Eat Vegetables

Vegetables are a normal part of the fox’s everyday diet. Vegetables have the necessary water to help hydrate the fox and plenty of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to support healthy growth.

Foxes will scavenge for these vegetables in the wild. However, according to the Humane Society, foxes do not typically visit your garden at night. 

Foxes may eat the following veggies:

  • Mushrooms
  • Salads
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

In addition to eating whole vegetables, they may also scavenge vegetable peels from your compost bin. Vegetable peels have the same aroma and therefore similarly attract the red fox. If there are vegetable peels in your garbage, they may dig through your garbage to pull them out.

Foxes Eat Fruits

The red fox eats many fruits, including melons, berries, and tree fruits. They are attracted to fruits with sweet aromas and crunchy textures, like watermelons and apples. However, they also like soft textures like oranges, peaches, and berries. 

A red fox trying out some berries in the wild

Fruits foxes can eat include:

  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe

Usually, the fruit that a red fox eats depends on what is available to them. They are excellent scavengers who adapt their diet to their environments. Like vegetables, urban foxes will not wander into your garden to eat your fruits. However, they may also eat the peels or seeds of fruits if you toss them into your compost bin.

Some fruits that humans readily eat, can be toxic to foxes, however. Grapes are a good example of this, and you should avoid giving grapes to red foxes (or any canine species really).

Foxes Eat Carrion

The red fox eats food that is bad or rotten, called carrion. Typically, another animal has scavenged this animal beforehand, leaving the remains for the fox to pick through. Eating carrion is not a favorite of the fox. However, they will do so if they need the protein.

The red fox will store their catch in holes dug into the ground called a cache so they can continue returning until it is all gone. 

A fox generally doesn’t eat meat that’s gone bad except if it has to. If you have a pet fox, it’s much better to feed it fresh, uncooked meat.

Foxes Eat Nuts

Nuts can be a part of the fox’s diet if available to them. Some nuts the fox eats include cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts. The wild fox does not typically go out of its way to forage nuts unless they need to make it a part of its diet.

Nuts like peanuts are a great food for replacing meat. This meat replacement often occurs when the fox cannot find any meat to consume.

Peanuts can be a good treat or supplement for your red fox. Giving them to your pet is a good way of rewarding them with a flavorful snack. Unlike peanut butter, peanuts do not get stuck at the roof of the red fox’s mouth.

Please be advised that salt is as bad for foxes as it is for humans, so always go for unsalted nuts!

Foxes Eat Some Human Foods

Foxes will eat some human foods, such as beef or fish. These are part of their natural diet and remind them of their natural lifestyle when living in captivity. If you serve a pet red fox the right human foods, it is good for the fox’s health.

Generally, however, unseasoned and uncooked meats are better than prepared dishes.

There are many things that humans eat, that foxes shouldn’t eat. Processed foods aren’t good for the fox’s health, especially very salty, sugary or fatty foods.

Wild foxes are attracted to these smells and often find these food items in compost bins and backyard barbecues. However, the presence and smell of humans will scare a wild red fox away before they can approach your backyard during the daytime.

While foxes (and dogs) will happily eat ice cream, they probably shouldn’t.

Foxes Eat Cooked Vegetables

If you try feeding a red fox cooked vegetables, they will happily eat them, similarly to raw vegetables.

Raw vegetables do, however, have more nutritional value than cooked vegetables. During the cooking process, vegetables lose some of their nutrients. Therefore, you should feed your pet red fox a diet of raw vegetables if you own one rather than cooking them.

You can see this nutrient loss as the vegetable changes color during the preparation process. There is no difference between whether cooked vegetables will attract a wild fox more than raw vegetables since the red fox rarely stumbles across these.

Wild Foxes Will Eat Eggs          

Eggs are an excellent source of protein for any canine, including the fox, who is known for stealing eggs from farmers at night. Foxes are known for stealing eggs and burying them in holes before eating them later. To make the most of their consumption, the red fox takes multiple trips in one night so that they may take multiple eggs from the chicken coop at once.

After caching the egg, the fox will dig it up later and eat it by crushing it in its mouth. They will not consume the eggshells but will typically leave them near the hole. If they eat any eggs near the chicken coop, they will leave them nearby the nest. Foxes eat on the last visit to the nest.

Pet Red Foxes Eat Eggs

You can feed your pet fox eggs in several ways to benefit their health. Eggs are great for canines. They can benefit their health by providing them with additional protein and nutrients.

Serving your pet red fox one egg per day can give them the beneficial protein they need to sustain a meat-free life or a meat-deficient life. As a rule of thumb, however, a fox is always better off with a varied diet, and that also includes meat.

From scrambled to boiled eggs, you may prepare eggs in any way for your fox. Do not feed your red fox the eggshells. They will not eat them.

What Red Foxes Cannot Eat

Foxes are vulnerable to many predators, such as wild game animals, large canines, and large felines. The red fox avoids consuming food with an intense odor, dairy, and wheat products. In addition, many commercial items are toxic to this wild canine.

Typically, they base their attraction to these food items on instinct so, if you have a pet fox, you should only feed them based on their natural diet. Feeding a red fox something outside of its natural diet can be inhumane and dangerous to their lives. 

Many foods (such as grapes) are toxic to foxes, both commercial or artificial. These can be dangerous to the fox’s health. Even if it seems harmless, sharing your food with a pet fox can endanger their lives.

The Red Fox Cannot Take Down Wild Game Animals

Foxes cannot take down wild game like deer or moose because they are too small. Even when cooperating in packs together, foxes fail to catch these animals because of their size. These large game animals may also be dangerous to the fox because they can overpower them and use their defense tactics to dominate the fox. 

Many wild game animals like the deer seem defenseless. However, they have common defense tactics that help them evade the attacks of red foxes, including stomping, headbutting, and biting. These subtle defense tactics make deer and other wild game animals dangerous to the fox.

Feeding a captive fox meat from a wild game animal is perfectly fine, however, and foxes will gladly eat most kinds of meat, preferably raw.

Foxes Avoid Eating Animal Bones

In some cases, foxes will eat animal bones, but they generally don’t. However, they will eat everything else in the body of their prey, including organs, muscles, and tissue. They do not always consume their prey’s fur.

Consuming bones is not dangerous for the fox, however. Bones can even be quite healthy for the fox to eat because of the calcium it contains, as well as the fat and protein in the bone marrow. 

If you own a red fox, avoid throwing them your leftover steak bones. While a fox can consume bones, they should always be raw, and the fox isn’t adapted for crushing thick bones from bigger animals.

Dairy Is Bad For Foxes

Like all canines, eating human foods can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Foxes are lactose intolerant, and cannot digest dairy and milk products properly. This means, that if they eat milk products like yogurt, milk, cheese, and so on, they tend to get upset stomachs and can even get diarrhea.

Red foxes are not typically attracted to milk products, so, a wild red fox will luckily not be drawn into your home by these smells. 

However, when you mix them with meats and vegetables, the red fox may eat them anyways. A wild fox will happily dig through your trash, unable to decipher the difference between a cheese-covered item and something without dairy.

If you own a pet red fox, never share dairy food with them that is not fox-based, or you could cause stomach upset. It can sound cute to feed your fox some of these food items but ultimately will be painful for them when they experience gastrointestinal problems. These problems will most likely be temporary.

But, if you continue to feed them dairy, they will eventually become an ongoing problem that requires veterinary treatment. As an exotic animal, it can be difficult to receive the treatment that your animal needs.

Processed Foods Are Toxic To Foxes

Like it’s the case with humans, most processed foods are really unhealthy for foxes, and unfortunately, like humans, foxes are attracted to these high-calorie food items.

Foods such as chips, junk food, and cooked meats are unhealthy to foxes because of their high content of sodium, fats, and sugars. The same goes for bread and baked goods, which are mostly empty calories to a fox.

Other ingredients that are common in processed foods, for instance, garlic is poisonous to all canines, including the fox. Luckily, the fox is naturally put off by garlic and other strong-smelling ingredients.

Foxes Dislike Sharp Odors 

The red fox will not eat anything with sharp odors, such as garlic, white vinegar, and chili. These smells repel the wild fox, and they will not bother to approach food with strong smells. Lining your property with sharp odors is a good way to scare foxes away from your property.

If you own a free-roaming fox, do not line your property with a smelly odor to repel other animals. Using an odor repellent can be tempting to deter larger canines and felines from your property to protect your foxes. However, it can result in stressing and repelling your fox.

Do Foxes Eat Dog Poop, or Poop From Other Animals?

Eating poop is normal canine behavior. Canines typically eat feces when they have an upset stomach. Intrigue in other animals’ poop can lead canines to eat another animal’s feces. It is not limited to foxes eating the poop of other animals.

While the behavior is natural, it’s definitely something you should try to avoid. Animal feces can contain many contagious diseases as well as parasites that can easily infect your pet fox or even the rest of your household.

Do Foxes Eat People? 

Foxes will not attack or eat people in any circumstance. Wild foxes are terrified of humans. They will not attack them in any way and usually run at the smell of a human.

The only time foxes come close to attacking humans is when they have rabies, are injured, or feel threatened. On the other hand, a domesticated fox is friendly with humans. In both cases, the likelihood that they attack a human is slim.