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Red fox Vulpes vulpes 207012 Mark Hamblin (rspb-images.com)24/02/2009

It’s dapper, widespread and can be active by day, so you’ve got a better chance of seeing red fox than some other medium-sized predators in Scotland. Stay alert for fox sightings anywhere from lowland loch shores to the heights of a mountain.

What to look for

If you see an orange-red creature, bigger than a large cat and with a long tail, moving in daylight across a field or hill, it could be a red fox. Check through binoculars to see the long muzzle, upright ears and white fur on the throat and chest. But you’re much more likely to see signs of fox presence than to encounter the animal itself. Look for conspicuous droppings (often grey-tinged, and with small mammal bones in them) on tracks.

Interesting facts

The red fox is the most widespread and abundant land-dwelling carnivore in the world. Part of its success comes from the way it can eat a wide range of food and live in a huge variety of places, such as mountains, deserts and urban gardens. Voles and mice often feature on the fox menu, and at times - much to the irritation of farmers - so do young lambs.

When and where to see

Foxes are active all year. Winter is a good time to get an idea of fox presence, when vixens in particular make far-carrying, yipping calls at night to attract a mate.