Squirrels are very swift and have spectacular reflexes that enable them to react to potential danger in the shortest time possible. It is only logical to imagine if their predators such as foxes even have a chance against them. So you may ask “Do Foxes Eat Squirrels?”
Well, the foxes do! What! Do foxes eat squirrels? I’m just baffled as you are, although informed. Typically, squirrels get a great deal of attention from humans, and they would probably love to understand the role of squirrels in the food chain.
In this article, we will focus on the relationship between foxes and squirrels, particularly if foxes eat squirrels. I suggest you get a seat before we unpack this mystic question.
- Do Foxes Eat Squirrels?
- How Foxes Hunt Squirrels?
- Do Squirrels Do Anything to Defend Themselves?
- What Animals Eat Foxes in the wild?
- How Do You Scare Away a Fox?
- Who Else Can Eat Squirrels?
- Wrapping Up
Do Foxes Eat Squirrels?
Yes, foxes eat squirrels, and it’s probably one of those meals they get to enjoy after a long time because squirrels are fast and coveted; thus, they are very difficult to hunt down.
On the other hand, foxes are known to be sly and intelligent. They can outwit a careless and overconfident squirrel.
Naturally, squirrels have small bodies, and foxes find it convenient to prey on small animals, specifically rodents.
Perhaps they like their catches free of hustle! Also, foxes are inherently omnivores and have effective scavenging techniques that set them out as the most successful predators.
How Foxes Hunt Squirrels?
Foxes are very cunning and patient at the same time. They hunt by actively stalking their prey as they wait for the right moment to strike.
Additionally, they have an exceptional pouncing technique and outstanding hunting skills that help them to catch squirrels.
In an instance where a fox spots a squirrel, it will play its cards right by appearing unbothered while gaining distance towards the unsuspecting squirrel. It then attacks immediately the squirrel loses focus and then turns it back to scamper away.
However, the fox may prefer not to attack once it has mislaid the element of surprise and the squirrel is fully aware and alert of its presence.
As soon as a squirrel is conscious of the existence of the fox, it is highly unlikely that the predator will get its paws on the little critter.
Do Squirrels Do Anything to Defend Themselves?
Squirrels have a repertoire of defense mechanisms that they deploy when entangled in a life-threatening situation.
Even so, they rarely confront or attack their predators unless it is crucial that they stay, for instance, when protecting baby squirrels. However, in most cases, they prefer to just flee to safety.
Some of the mechanisms that the little furballs employ when encountered with foxes include;
When it comes to speed, squirrels don’t disappoint. They are among the swiftest ground animals that bank on their agility to scurry away from foxes.
It is even more advantageous to squirrels if there are trees nearby as they use them to lose their predators coupled with their speed.
Mechanism#2: Sounding Alarm
In other instances, squirrels make these weird noises and sharp sounds at the sight of a fox to warn other squirrels of the imminent danger and let the predator know that its element of surprise has been compromised.
Mechanism#3: Tail Shaking
A squirrel’s tail is a very vital organ necessary for its survival. Again, tail twitching usually comes in handy in notifying other squirrels that a fox is roaming around or simply to let the fox know it has been spotted.
Tail shaking ordinarily goes in hand with alarm calls. Squirrels often combine these two mechanisms for effectiveness. Remarkably, a squirrel’s tail can actually break off when clasped by a fox as a contrivance to free the squirrel from the snare.
This tactic or the resort to attack is often associated with nursing squirrels. They can typically fight to death with a fox just to protect their offspring.
They also make belligerent noises and puff up to look larger the way cats do to instill cold chills in the foxes.
What Animals Eat Foxes in the wild?
A food chain constitutes a linear network of links in a food web that basically describes how organisms are related to each other by the food they consume.
Foxes and squirrels are linked in the food web only that foxes get preyed on by top tier predators like coyotes and mountain lions.
Just like squirrels, foxes have plenty of natural predators to worry about. While some kill them for food, others just kill them out of territorial aspects and animal dispositions. Other animals that eat foxes are wolves, eagles, owls, leopards, and bears.
In rare circumstances, however, usually in cases of near starvation. Foxes do steal the young ones of other foxes for food. Yes! You read that right. Besides, humans also hunt and kill foxes for food and sometimes just for fun.
How Do You Scare Away a Fox?
Foxes are very reticent creatures and rarely make contact with humans unless overwhelmed with hunger such that the only remedy existing is to invade human homes to sate their starvation.
When they do so, they can attack pets and livestock and raid your garden, which is very annoying. Some of the proven ways you can use to scare foxes away include;
Mechanism#1: Use Repellants
Repellants can be artificial or natural. They work by inducing an element of dislike in an environment keeping the unwelcomed visitors away.
Using natural repellents such as hot pepper spray in your garden is very effective in keeping foxes away since their smell is irritating to foxes.
On the other hand, while Artificial repellants do the job of keeping away foxes, they can be toxic to wild animals since they contain harmful chemicals. Examples include fox repellent sachets which work by creating an artificial scent.
Mechanism#2: Construct Barriers
Barriers consist of fences that basically restrict foxes from accessing the desired area. Areas you may want to protect against foxes include the garden and livestock area.
Erecting a fence around the respective sections will inhibit foxes from invading your premises and causing destruction.
Mechanism#3: Eliminate Attractions
Tidying up your yard can also be vital in keeping foxes at bay. Foxes get attracted to food sources.
Food sources in your yard can range from trash cans, livestock if you keep any, to underneath bird feeders. Keeping these areas clean and secure can do the task of keeping foxes away.
Who Else Can Eat Squirrels?
As mentioned earlier, squirrels are coveted creatures, thus sought after by many predators apart from the popular foxes.
Additionally, squirrels are placed lowly in the food chain and don’t do much to protect themselves. Consequently, many predators placed above them prefer to hunt them down.
Some animals that can also eat squirrels are birds such as eagles and hawks, snakes, coyotes, raccoons, and ravens.
A squirrel’s habitat or environs determines the type of predators it will have to deal with. Ground squirrels, for instance, get attacked often by large predatory birds such as hawks.
Squirrels are fascinating creatures, and while they are known to be voracious animals that gob up on anything they come across, they constitute an important element in the food web as some animals depend on it for food.
One of the natural and prevalent squirrel predators is the foxes. They are natural omnivores and hunt squirrels for food. Foxes are also sly and intelligent thus can outwit squirrels despite their outstanding speed and reflexes in moments of danger.