Where Do Foxes Sleep? In Dens or Out In The Open? 🦊

Foxes find somewhere to sleep each day – but they don’t have one single spot. They will sleep in any number of different places including just out in the open.

Foxes find somewhere to sleep each day – but they don’t have one single spot. They will sleep in any number of different places including just out in the open.

Where Do Foxes Sleep At Night?

Red fox sleeping at outdoor

We always imagine foxes curled up all cozy in their dens on a bed of leaves – with their gorgeous fluffy tail tucked over their noses. But this isn’t always the case.

Firstly, foxes are mostly nocturnal – which means they are up and hunting at night – no time to sleep when you have mice and voles to catch. Or chicken coops to raid. So they sleep during the day instead.

Secondly, most foxes actually prefer to sleep in the open or part-open. It depends where they are though, as some red foxes may be in very busy urban areas, and arctic foxes can be in very exposed locations. They do however have their tails though – that part was true. Not only does it act as a blanket for the body and feet – it can cover the nose too. This ‘heat filter’ warms the air before it enters the body – greatly improving heat retention and saving energy overall. A great survival tactic.

Quite the opposite is true for desert foxes like the Fennec Fox – where they can’t sleep out in the open during the day as it is just too hot. These foxes will sleep in holes and dens during the day to stay cool. They also breath faster too when asleep to keep their temperatures low.

Do Foxes Sleep In Trees?

Cute fox sleeping

Some foxes – namely the Gray Fox – are famous for their tree-climbing abilities. One of only 3 canid species that regularly climb and sleep in trees – this truly is a unique fox. With very sharp curved claws – a feature more commonly found in felines – this fox can be found sleeping over 30ft up in the trees.

Scaling trees – straight up the trunk – with ease – they can easily climb vertically 20ft without any issues. They scramble around in trees, leaping between branches of different trees to stay off the ground. Often climbing to be out of reach of predators – they can then descend gradually by bounding between lower and lower branches or shimmy themselves down feet-first when they feel safe again.

Red foxes have on occasions been found sleeping or sitting in trees, but these need to have lower branches for them to be able to do so. Using thick level branches and contorted larger trees, these less-agile foxes can still be found in trees.

Why Does A Fox Make A Den?

Wild fox sleeping

Foxes make a main den for birthing and raising their pups/kits – so these have to be in a good spot. This will be their natal den and will need to be in a location that won’t be disturbed for several months ideally.

Foxes will also have other smaller dens within their home range that they will use in bad weather (foxes don’t like to be wet) and cache food. They often inherit these dens or steal them from other animals (hopefully already long gone!).

These various dens will need to be dry or in some way protected from the elements. Thick woodland, under trees, in trees, amongst rocky crevices, under houses, in discarded rubble piles or abandoned structures – all are fair game for foxes. The dens have to be easy to get in and out of – and with entrances that allow them to watch for danger – and escape it. Not that a fox has many predators – but they are very wary critters and prefer to run rather than fight.

Depending on the fox and location – these dens can be very complex. Some can be over 20ft deep and 50ft long – and some can have more than a dozen entrances for safety and ventilation. Often these entrances are concealed by vegetation, but they are quite often simply on top of a loose mound of soil from the excavation. Always needing home improvements.

Do Foxes Hibernate?

Due to the amazing adaptations of foxes across the planet and their flexible diet – they haven’t evolved the need to hibernate. Even though they live in very cold climates in places – it is lack of food rather than low temperatures that lead to a species having to hibernate. And foxes don’t have a problem finding food at any time.

Needless to say, as foxes don’t have the biological prowess to actually hibernate fully (totally switch off) they must stay awake and feed throughout the winter to survive. They can’t suddenly try it one year if it gets too tough. Their survival strategy was chosen a long time ago and they have to stick with it.

Also Read Our Other Articles on Foxes