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(Back to Menu) Taxonomy: Many texts on fox natural history cannot help but draw comparisons between the fox and the cat and, if you spend any time watching them, you’re certainly struck by how similarly they behave: both have the same delicate, tripping gait; both stalk and pounce in much the same way; both sit and sleep with tails curled around their bodies; both twitch tail tips to allow young to practice hunting; both will use a paw to scoop unwary fish out of a garden pond.

So, the result was two isolated populations (or clades): one in Alaska (Holarctic clade) and one in the south (Nearctic clade).

Iberia, Italy, southern France, etc.) for only a (geologically) brief period, after which they quickly returned to central Europe and Britain; at the time, the UK was connected to the European continent.

The flooding of the Doggerland ‘bridge’ around 6,500 years ago isolated Britain’s foxes from those in Europe, putting an end to any natural mixing of the populations.

There is then something of a hiatus in the vulpine fossil record until the early Pliocene (about 4 mya), with foxes from China and Turkey among the earliest Eurasian specimens.

The origins of our modern-day Red fox (, which lived in southern Europe at the end of the Pliocene, around 2.6 mya – this species was first discovered in deposits from Italy in the late 1800s, but remains were subsequently found in France, Spain and Greece.

In their 1982 comparison of Red and Arctic ( comes from the Old World and dates to the early Pleistocene (between 1.8 and 1 mya) of Hungary and, in her 2008 study of Red fox dentition, Polish Academy of Sciences mammalogist Elwira Szuma suggested that the current line evolved either in Asia Minor or North Africa around this time.

As fox populations rose in Eurasia, those in North America appear to have dwindled.

Fox domestication Living with the wild: interacting with wild foxes Interaction with other Species Small and Medium-sized Mammals Livestock Gamebirds Arctic Foxes and other Carnivores Deer Native Animals in Australia Plants and Invertebrates Questions and Answers Evolution and Early Distribution: Dogs and cats are Carnivorans, that is, they’re members of the taxonomic order Carnivora (note this is different to simply being a carnivore, or meat-eater, which is not a taxonomic grouping), which is one of 29 orders within the class Mammalia.