Hi! I’m Jasper the red fox and I’m one of Earth Rangers’ newest Animal Ambassadors. I just wanted to stop by and… WAIT! WHAT WAS THAT?! SHHHH be very quiet…I think it’s a mouse under the snow, oh about 10 feet that way. What, you don’t think I could hear that? Well thanks to my trusty fox ears, it was easy! Did you know that we foxes are amazing hunters? That’s because we’ve got some pretty awesome adaptations to help us catch our prey.
We have really good eyesight. If a rabbit were to stay completely still, we might miss it, but if it even twitches its ear, we can spot them. That’s because our eyesight reacts to movement.
When we can’t see our prey, we can always rely on our noses. Like other canines (dogs), our sense of smell is way better than that of humans. We use this ability to sniff out the scent of our prey even when it’s hiding.
In addition to seeing and smelling, we also have amazing hearing. We can hear our prey scurrying under snow from 25 feet away. We can even hear and locate our prey when it’s crawling in tunnels underground.
Thanks to these senses we can locate prey from a great distance but that doesn’t help if we can’t catch our prey before it flees. It’s a good thing we are fast! We are capable of reaching speeds of up to 50km/h.
When we are close enough to our prey, we use a special technique to catch them. If a mouse walks across our path, we leap high into the air and pin it down with our front paws – it almost looks we are diving! If the mouse moves, we can also change direction in midair by moving our tails.
It’s easy to catch our dinner when we can see it but what’s even more impressive is how we catch our prey when it’s hidden under snow. That’s when our magnetic sense comes into play. We can actually sense the Earth’s magnetic field! By listening for our prey and lining our bodies up with the magnetic field (usually north) we can get a really good estimate of where our prey is and figure out the distance we need to jump. Using this technique, we are able to dive into the snow and capture our prey about 73% of the time. Pretty neat huh?
Just watch this video of one of my cousins as he searches for food in the Dakotas