How Do Foxes Target Prey?

Foxes are related to wolves, jackals and dogs. They’re medium sized, between 7 and 15 pounds, with pointy faces, graceful bodies and bushy tails.

Foxes, unlike Tommy and Tina in the Lucky Foxes story, are solitary after they leave their family, and they hunt and sleep alone. When raising their young, they live in small families called—a skulk or leash of foxes—in underground burrows.

They have a lot in common with cats. They are active after dark and hunt like cats by stalking and pouncing on their prey. Foxes have keen eyesight; sensitive whiskers and spikes on their tongue; walk on their toes; and have retractable claws, that allows them to climb most anything they wish.

Foxes have acute hearing—it’s said they can hear a watch ticking as much as 120 feet away. In combination with this ability, they have a unique feature. They hunt using the earth’s magnetic field for direction to catch hidden prey—like mice under the snow or in heavy grass. Similar to a guided missile, foxes can see the earth’s magnetic field in “a ring of shadow” on its eyes that darken as it heads toward the prey. When the shadow and the sound the prey is making line up, they pounce.
Unfortunately, their targeting system only works well when they’re hunting in a northerly direction, and then, only 75 percent of the time.