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All other species in Canini

Foxes are small-to-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. Foxes have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail.

Twelve species belong to the monophyletic "true foxes" group of genus Vulpes. Approximately another 25 current or extinct species are always or sometimes called foxes; these foxes are either part of the paraphyletic group of the South American foxes, or of the outlying group, which consists of bat-eared fox, gray fox, and island fox. Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox with about 47 recognized subspecies. The global distribution of foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially in the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.

The word fox comes from Old English, which derived from Proto-Germanic *fuhsaz. This in turn derives from Proto-Indo-European *puḱ-, meaning ’thick-haired; tail’. Male foxes are known as dogs, tods or reynards, females as vixens, and young as cubs, pups, or kits, though the latter name is not to be confused with a distinct species called kit foxes. Vixen is one of very few words in modern English that retains the Middle English southern dialect "v" pronunciation instead of "f". A group of foxes is referred to as a skulk, leash, or earth.

Within the Canidae, the results of DNA analysis shows several phylogenetic divisions:

Foxes are generally smaller than some other members of the family Canidae such as wolves and jackals, while they may be larger than some within the family, such as Raccoon dogs. In the largest species, the red fox, males weigh on average between 4.1 and 8.7 kg , while the smallest species, the fennec fox, weighs just 0.7 to 1.6 kg. Fox-like features typically include a triangular face, pointed ears, an elongated rostrum, and a bushy tail. Foxes are digitigrade, and thus, walk on their toes. Unlike most members of the family Canidae, foxes have partially retractable claws. Fox vibrissae, or whiskers, are black. The whiskers on the muzzle, mystaciae vibrissae, average 100–110 mm long, while the whiskers everywhere else on the head average to be shorter in length. Whiskers are also on the forelimbs and average 40 mm long, pointing downward and backward. Other physical characteristics vary according to habitat and adaptive significance.

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