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Fox Eye Color: Understanding the Genetics Behind Their Colors

The fox is one animal that few know anything about. The most that some know is that it’s a cunning character in folklore. How much do you know about fox eye color? This species has a variety of shades. Some have blue eyes, while others have green eyes. 

Their eye shape has humans using eyeshadow on the outer corner to achieve a fox-eye look. In this article, we discuss the mystery behind this and describe the different colored eyes of foxes.

How Genetics Affect the Eyes of Foxes

The genetic basis of fox eye color involves a complex interplay of various genes. To understand this, think of the eyes of this species as having two main components: the iris and the tapetum lucidum. The iris is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil and can range from deep brown to striking blue or enchanting green. 

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

The tapetum lucidum, at the back of the eye, enhances night vision by reflecting light that passes through the retina. This reflective layer contributes to the glow seen in a fox’s eyes at night. It’s almost as mystical and fascinating as how the eyeshadow around the captivating eyes of Megan Fox enhances her allure.

In addition, like the way Megan Fox can change eyeshadow or lenses as often as she wants, some foxes have different color shades as kits. For instance, some have bluish eyes that turn brown or amber in adulthood.

Additionally, as these clever canines evolve, their habitats contribute to their distinct eye colors. For instance, you can spot a red fox almost throughout North America. This species tends to have brown eye coloration. The earthy hue blends seamlessly with the wooded regions where the red fox predominantly resides, providing excellent camouflage in the dappled light of the forest. 

This adaptation is a testament to the remarkable process of natural selection, where foxes with brown eyes had a better chance of avoiding predators and catching prey in their forested homes.

On the other hand, the Arctic fox species inhabits the vast, icy expanses of the tundra. Here, eye color tells a different story. This resourceful creature often displays mesmerizing blue eyes that harmonize with the frozen surroundings. In the Arctic’s perpetual winter twilight, the enhanced low-light vision of blue eyes gives the Arctic fox an edge in hunting small mammals. 

Over generations, this unique adaptation is responsible for the survival of the Arctic fox species in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

Types of Fox Eye Color: A Detailed Analysis

Foxes exhibit a captivating range of eye colors, each with unique charm and purpose. In the dark, fox eyes tend to have a glowing appearance. This phenomenon is due to the tapetum lucidum, which reflects incoming light, enhancing their night vision. The color of this reflected light can vary, creating a unique and eerie glow that is often greenish or yellowish.

Here, we delve into the various types, exploring the science behind them and their advantages in the wild, and explain the species likely to exhibit such coloration.

Brown Eyes

Brown eye coloration is the most common among foxes. You may see this rich, earthy tone in red foxes. It’s probably the look humans want to achieve when they line the outer corner of their eyes with black eyeshadow. For canids, brown eye color provides excellent camouflage in forested regions, helping foxes blend seamlessly with their surroundings. 

Therefore, this natural adaptation aids in hunting and avoiding predators, allowing these foxes to thrive in wooded habitats. Below is one species likely to have brown eyes.

The Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) 

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

The red fox is one of the most widely recognized and adaptable members of the canid family, found throughout much of North America, Europe, Asia, and even parts of North Africa. Known for its cunning behavior and beautiful fur, the red fox exhibits remarkable traits and characteristics.

Red foxes have a set of striking physical features. Their fur is typically reddish-brown, although cross and silver fox morphs have different color shades. As such, the fur on the throat, chest, and belly tends to be white, creating a distinctive contrast. 

Their bushy tail, or brush, often has a white tip, and it serves multiple purposes, including helping with balance and providing insulation during harsh winters.

Intriguingly, the red fox has different color shades with age, similar to the Corsac fox mentioned later. 

When red fox kits are born, their eyes initially have a blue-gray or bluish hue. This temporary eye coloration is due to the absence of pigments in the iris. However, as they grow and mature, their eyes transform. By adulthood, their eyes have a stunning shade of amber, yellow, brown, or gold.

As opportunistic omnivores, they have a diverse diet that includes small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and even scavenged food. Their cunning hunting strategies involve stalking, pouncing, or even caching food for later consumption. They’re solitary creatures. Therefore, each individual maintains a territory that can span several square miles.

Another remarkable aspect of red foxes is their ability to communicate. They have many vocalizations, including barks, screams, and high-pitched squeals. 

Blue Eyes

If Megan Fox has blue eyes, she’s among about 10% of the human population with such shade.

Animals also have blue eye shade. As such, blue eyes are not uncommon among foxes, especially among the young. 

The Arctic foxes are one species that exhibits this color. In humans, the Tyndall scattering, similar to how the sky is blue due to Rayleigh scattering, causes blue eyes. What about foxes? 

Surprisingly, blue eye coloration is a unique genetic mutation that offers improved low-light vision. Consequently, this adaptation enhances hunting capabilities, allowing foxes to locate prey in dimly lit conditions.

Baby foxes, also known as kits, are born with blue eyes. This eye color is typical during their early stages of life and gradually changes as they mature. As they grow older and adapt to their specific environments, their eye colors transform into shades suited for their species. Here are fox species likely to have blue eyes.

Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The other name for this species is the white fox or polar fox. It’s a highly adapted species native to the Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. These resilient creatures are well-suited to their harsh and frigid environments, boasting several fascinating characteristics. 

One of the most striking features of the Arctic fox is its seasonal coat variation, which enables it to blend into its surroundings. The fur turns a pristine white to camouflage against the snow during winter. On the other hand, in the summer, it changes to a brown or grayish-brown color to match the tundra landscape.

In addition to their remarkable coat adaptation, Arctic foxes are known for their distinct eye coloration. These small canids have stunning blue eye coloration. It’s striking against their fluffy, white winter coats. 

This blue eye color comes from the unique structure of their irises, which scatter and reflect light in a way that imparts a striking blue hue. This trait sets them apart from most other fox species, as it is relatively rare among canids. 

While their blue eyes are captivating, they also serve a functional purpose. The increased light reflection helps Arctic foxes see better in low-light conditions since they’re opportunistic predators. 

Their diet includes small mammals, birds, fish, and carrion. These adaptable creatures have also developed a keen sense of hearing, which helps them locate prey under the snow.

Green Eyes

While the exact genetic basis for having green eye color is unclear, it may form through a combination of pigments in the iris. Green eye coloration might be similar to how the sky is blue due to Rayleigh scattering.

It’s a rare eye coloration in foxes that some associate with red foxes. Green eye color adds an enchanting allure to foxes and may provide some advantage in their specific environment. 

Amber Eyes

Amber eyes are a captivating mix of brown and green, creating a unique and striking interplay of colors. This eye color variation is in certain fox species and individuals within populations. Amber eyes offer the advantages of brown and green eyes, providing versatility in various habitats. The following species may have such coloration:

Fennec Foxes (Vulpes zerda)

Image by Winkelmann from Pixabay

These small, desert-dwelling canids have striking and distinctive physical features, including unique eye coloration. An adult Fennec fox has a stunning shade of bright, vivid yellow or amber eye coloration. 

This color is well-suited to the arid regions of North Africa, where these foxes experience strong sunlight and harsh desert conditions. As such, the bright yellow or amber eyes also protect their sensitive eyes from intense sunlight.

Corsac Foxes (Vulpes corsac)

Image by Jevgeni Fil from Pixabay

They are small canids inhabiting various regions of Central Asia, such as China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Their captivating eye color undergoes a remarkable transformation as they age. 

Newborn Corsac foxes, like many mammals, begin life with their eyes tightly shut and a bluish or blue-gray hue in their irises. This initial eye coloration comes from the absence of pigments in their developing eyes, a common characteristic in the early stages of mammalian life.

As these young Corsac foxes grow and mature, their eyes gradually transition from the initial bluish tones to a final eye color, a striking shade of yellow or amber. The resulting amber or yellow eyes contribute to the distinctive appearance of these remarkable creatures as they navigate the Central Asian steppes.

Swift Foxes (Vulpes velox)

Image Abujoy from Wikipedia

This small, elusive canid is native to the grasslands and prairies of North America. It has remarkable adaptability to many habitats, from arid desert regions to grassy plains. One notable feature of swift foxes is their captivating eye color, which adds to their unique charm.

They have striking, large eyes adapted for their crepuscular and nocturnal lifestyles. These eyes are well-suited for low-light conditions, allowing them to hunt and navigate effectively during dawn, dusk, and nighttime. The iris of a swift fox’s eye is often a beautiful shade of golden-yellow or deep amber.

In addition to amber eyes, swift foxes exhibit several other striking traits and characteristics. They’re among the smallest wild canids in North America, measuring around 12 to 16 inches in height and weighing between 3 to 6 pounds. 

Their fur is predominantly gray with a paler underside and a black-tipped tail. Swift foxes have swift and agile movements for hunting small mammals, birds, insects, and even some plant matter. 

Despite their adaptability and resourcefulness, swift foxes face various conservation challenges due to habitat loss and fragmentation. 

Gray Foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) 

Image by Nichole from Pixabay

This fascinating and adaptable species is native to North and Central America. Unlike most other fox species, the gray fox boasts a unique combination of physical characteristics and behaviors that set it apart. One distinctive feature of the gray fox is its eye coloration, which, unlike the name suggests, doesn’t play a prominent role in its nomenclature.

Gray foxes’ eyes have striking shades of amber or orange. It’s the defining characteristic of adult individuals and stands out vividly against their grayish fur, often adorned with a tinge of reddish-brown and white markings. These foxes are of medium size, with bushy tails sporting a distinctive black stripe running along the upper surface. 

Another notable trait is their semi-retractable claws, a feature they share with the closely related island fox. These creatures are highly adaptable omnivores with a diet that includes small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and carrion. 

They’re excellent climbers, thanks to their sharp claws, and can be found in many habitats, from forests and woodlands to urban areas and desert scrublands. Gray foxes love their solitary nature and nocturnal habits, making them elusive and less frequently observed than other species.


Fox eye color is a captivating facet of these remarkable creatures, reflecting their genetic history and adaptation to diverse environments. Understanding the genetics and significance of fox eye color adds a layer of wonder to the already fascinating world of these cunning and adaptable creatures. 

Many humans want to achieve the mystical shape of fox eyes, and they line the outer corner of their eyes with eyeshadow. With the detailed explanation of fox eye shades above, you know the species to imitate based on your eye coloration.


What color are fox eyes at night?

Fox’s eyes appear to glow at night because of the tapetum lucidum, creating a greenish or yellowish reflection in low-light conditions, which helps enhance their night vision.

What color eyes do red foxes have?

Red foxes typically have brown eyes, which provide effective camouflage in their forested habitats, aiding in stalking prey and evading predators.

What is the rarest fox color?

The rarest fox eye color is green, often found in Arctic foxes, adding an enchanting charm to these creatures of the icy tundra. The Tyndall scattering, like the Rayleigh scattering in the sky, causes such coloration in humans.

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