North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Gray Fox

Scientific Name: Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Classification: Game Species  
Abundance: Common throughout state

Species Profile (PDF)


Though both the red fox and the gray fox live in North Carolina today, the gray fox is the state’s only native fox species.

The gray fox is slightly smaller than the red fox and is much darker in color. The overall coloration is best described as a salt and pepper gray with a dark streak extending down the back and along the top of the tail.

Gray foxes are sometimes confused with red foxes because of a reddish or rusty coloration on the sides of their necks and on their legs.  The most obvious clues for identifying the gray fox are the presence of a black tail tip and the ability to climb trees.

Gray foxes thrive in diverse habitats and are able to exploit many different habitat types. Viable populations are found in all of North Carolina’s major habitat types.

Although they are often present in large, connected tracts of wooded areas, they also thrive in open farmland.

Like other canid predators, gray foxes forage on a variety of prey such as mice and rabbits. Unlike many other canid predators, they also eat a significant amount of wild fruit, and agricultural crops such as corn and peanuts