Ageing a Red Fox

Deanot2000

Well-Known Member
Gents, does anyone have any solid evidence/literature on accurately calculating the age of our old mate Charlie in the FIELD?

I've shot quite a few and to be honest had a good guesstimate but being a little OCD I'm interested in being a little more scientific and accurate.

Ive done the Google thing and found loads if you can x-ray their teeth but nothing a bloke in a muddy field with a head torch can do!

This is purely me being a little odd but we've had a few Charlie's bagged around some of the permissions I shoot that I (and several farmers) think are Urban's that have been released by some 'kindly' organisation and I'd like to investigate a bit.

All the best!

Deano
 

AN DU RU FOX

Well-Known Member
not a clue on ageing exept usual worn teeth sometimes a bit

rough looking like an old dog,but the ones we suspected where being dropped off! all act stranger than the norm and so get picked off easy,
 

Paddy_SP

Well-Known Member
If you extract one of the canines you can easily polish it lengthways on a sheet of emery. That will reveal the dental layers which you can then count just like you'd do with tree rings.
 

old keeper

Well-Known Member
In the first couple of years of life the upper canines have some rough serrations which wear off by the time they are about three. After that it is possible to age them by the cementum rings within the tooth but it isn't quite as easy as ring counting on a tree! I believe the technical way is to examine a cut section under a microscope after staining the sample with dye.
As not too many foxes make old bones it all seems a bit academic. The overall condition will give a clue, probably easiest to break it down to this years cub, a couple of years old, getting on a bit and old and in most, if not all cases, dead.
 

Paddy_SP

Well-Known Member
After that it is possible to age them by the cementum rings within the tooth but it isn't quite as easy as ring counting on a tree! I believe the technical way is to examine a cut section under a microscope after staining the sample with dye.
I guess it helps if you have a stereo microscope - mine came from the boot sale!
 

Judge Ali

Well-Known Member
This thread has just got me thinking - what is an average lifespan for a fox? Obviously on any one of our permissions its probably not very long! But what is natural life expectancy?
 

Paddy_SP

Well-Known Member
This thread has just got me thinking - what is an average lifespan for a fox? Obviously on any one of our permissions its probably not very long! But what is natural life expectancy?
It varies from place to place - the experts say that a town fox typically dies before it's a year old, mostly as the result of being hit by cars. In captivity they can go to about fifteen years, but in the wild it's more like four or five. Unless they live near me, that is! :)
 

leej

Well-Known Member
As l-r-b quite rightly says, once he gets a visit from my 22-250 he aint getting any older!
 

Paddy_SP

Well-Known Member
If you find out its exact age how does that help in finding if its been dumped out of a town ?
It doesn't - except that the experts reckon that on average town foxes die when they're only a year old, so if ageing it shows that the fox is, say three years old, it's unlikely to be a dumpee.
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
this years cub, a couple of years old, getting on a bit and old and in most, if not all cases, dead.
I think (I'm not sure though, so please somebody feel free to correct me? :cool:) that in all cases they actually do end up dead at some point
 

teabag_46

Well-Known Member
If you wish to know whether it is (was) a released urban fox, have a look to see if it has been neutered (rather you than me) - as the 'friendly organisations' that you mention, seem to have a bit of a fixation about removing reproductive organs from mammals!
 

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