Species At Risk

Grey Fox

(Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Threatened

Grey Fox
Grey Fox occurrences map

Description

The Grey Fox is the size of a small dog and looks very similar to the familiar Red Fox. But unlike the Red Fox, the Grey Fox has grizzled grey fur with lighter cinnamon coloured patches on its body. It also has a black tail tip, while the Red Fox has a white tail tip. The Grey Fox has shorter legs and a smaller snout than the Red Fox, and it can have a very long bushy tail.

Range

The range of the Grey Fox extends across much of the United States, where it is relatively common. In Canada, it is found only in Ontario and Manitoba. In Ontario, its historic range is across the southernmost portions of the province. In recent years, this range has been reduced to west of Lake Superior in the Rainy River District and on Pelee Island in west Lake Erie. There have been occasional sightings and reports of the Grey Fox close to the U.S. border in the Niagara, Thousand Islands and Windsor areas.

Habitat

In Ontario, the Grey Fox lives in deciduous forests and marshes. Grey Fox dens are usually found in dense shrubs close to a water source but they will also use rocky areas, hollow trees, and underground burrows dug by other animals. This species will live in many types of habitat provided there is sufficient shelter and prey availability.

Threats

The Grey Fox is typically found in warmer climates. In Canada, harsh winters could be preventing it from moving northward.

Protection

The Grey Fox is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act. This species also receives protection under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

What You Can Do to Help the Grey Fox

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Grey Fox . You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.

Did you know?

Grey Foxes can climb trees! They use their sharp, hooked claws to scramble up tree trunks and can even jump from branch to branch.

Did you know?

Grey Fox tracks look very similar to a domestic house cat. But, unlike a cat, fox prints always have claw marks.

Did you know?

The Grey Fox is not a picky eater. Small rodents and rabbits are the preferred food during the winter, but this omnivore will also eat apples, corn, and wild grapes in the summer and fall.


The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.