what plants do red foxes eat

What Plants Do Red Foxes Eat? (Factors in 2023)

Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are known for their adaptability and their varied diet. While they are primarily carnivorous, red foxes also incorporate plant matter into their diet. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing relationship between red foxes and plants, answering common questions such as whether red foxes eat plants, which plants they consume, and their favorite food.

Can Red Foxes Eat Plants?

Red foxes have an omnivorous nature, which means they are capable of consuming both animal and plant matter. While they primarily rely on small mammals, birds, and insects for sustenance, they also supplement their diet with various plant materials. This adaptability allows red foxes to thrive in diverse environments ranging from forests and grasslands to urban areas.

The inclusion of plant matter in their diet serves multiple purposes for red foxes. Firstly, it provides them with additional nutrients and dietary diversity. Secondly, it allows them to exploit seasonal fluctuations in food availability. For example, during times when prey is scarce, red foxes may rely more heavily on plant-based food sources.

It is important to note that the consumption of plant matter by red foxes is relatively limited compared to their carnivorous intake. Their dentition and digestive system are adapted for meat consumption, but they can still derive nutritional benefits from certain plants.

What Plants Do Red Foxes Eat?

Red foxes have been observed consuming a variety of plant species as part of their omnivorous diet. While plant matter forms a smaller proportion of their overall food intake compared to animal matter, it still plays a significant role in their nutrition and foraging behavior.

Berries and Fruits

Red foxes are known to consume a range of berries and fruits, especially during the summer and autumn seasons. They may feed on wild berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Additionally, they may scavenge fallen fruits from trees such as apples, pears, and cherries.

Grasses and Roots

Red foxes occasionally consume grasses and roots, particularly when other food sources are scarce. They may nibble on tender grass shoots or dig up and consume certain types of roots, such as those of dandelions or other herbaceous plants.

Agricultural Crops

In some cases, red foxes may raid agricultural fields and feed on crops. They may target crops like corn, wheat, and barley, especially when these crops are easily accessible and offer a readily available food source.

Supplementary Plant Material

Red foxes also consume plant material incidentally while hunting or scavenging. For instance, they may ingest small amounts of vegetation when consuming herbivorous prey, such as rabbits or rodents.

Plant Consumption by Red Foxes

Seasonal Variation

The consumption of plants by red foxes exhibits seasonal variation. In spring and summer, when plants are more abundant, red foxes may include a higher proportion of plant material in their diet. This is particularly true for fruits, berries, and grasses, which are readily available during these seasons.

Geographic Factors

The specific plants consumed by red foxes can vary based on their geographical location. The availability of plant species differs in different habitats, and red foxes adapt their diet accordingly. They have been observed to consume a diverse range of plants, depending on the region they inhabit.

What Is a Red Fox’s Favorite Food?

Red fox’s favorite food sources vary depending on availability and location. While they primarily rely on small mammals and birds for sustenance, they do have certain preferences when it comes to their dietary choices.

Small Mammals

Red foxes have a particular fondness for small mammals, which form a significant portion of their diet. They are skilled hunters and commonly prey upon animals like rabbits, mice, voles, squirrels, and even young hares. These small mammals provide essential nutrients and energy for the red foxes.

Birds and Eggs

Red foxes are known to prey upon birds and their eggs, especially during the breeding season when nests are more vulnerable. They may target ground-nesting birds such as grouse, pheasants, and waterfowl, as well as raid the nests of tree-dwelling birds like songbirds.

Insects and Invertebrates

Insects and invertebrates contribute to the red fox’s diet, particularly during the warmer months. They will actively search for beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, worms, and other arthropods. These small prey items offer a good source of protein and help supplement their diet.


Red foxes are also scavengers and readily consume carrion, including the carcasses of larger mammals. They take advantage of opportunities to feed on roadkill or the remains of animals left behind by other predators.


Red foxes, although primarily carnivorous, display a certain degree of dietary flexibility and occasionally consume plant material. Their plant consumption varies based on seasonal availability and geographical factors.

Berries, fruits, grasses, herbs, roots, tubers, and even agricultural crops can be part of a red fox’s diet. This adaptability allows red foxes to survive in different habitats and helps them utilize available food resources.


Can red foxes survive on a plant-based diet alone?

No, red foxes cannot survive on a plant-based diet alone. While they consume plant material on occasion, they primarily rely on animal protein for their nutritional needs.

How do red foxes find and identify edible plants?

Red foxes have a keen sense of smell and are able to locate edible plants based on their scent. They also learn through trial and error and develop a knowledge of what plants are safe and suitable for consumption.

Do red foxes eat toxic plants?

Red foxes generally avoid consuming toxic plants. Their instinct and experience guide them to select plants that are safe for consumption.

Are red foxes considered herbivores or omnivores?

Red foxes are classified as omnivores because they have a diverse diet that includes both animal and plant material.

Can red foxes digest all types of plant material?

Red foxes have digestive systems adapted for processing animal protein, but they can digest a variety of plant material as well. However, certain plant compounds may be harder to break down, and the foxes may prefer easily digestible plant parts.

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