Fox

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Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids (slightly smaller than the median-sized domestic dog), characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail (or brush).

Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to the Vulpes genus of 'true foxes'. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), although various species are found on almost every continent. The presence of fox-like carnivores all over the globe has led to their appearance in both popular culture and folklore in many cultures around the world (see also Foxes in culture). The gray fox is one of only two canine species known to climb trees; the other is the raccoon dog.

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Etymology

The Modern English word "fox" is Old English, and comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh – compare German Fuchs, Gothic fauho, Old Norse foa and Dutch vos. It corresponds to the Proto-Indo-European word puk- meaning "tail of it" (compare Sanskrit puccha, also "tail"). The bushy tail is also the source of the word for fox in Welsh: llwynog, from llwyn, "bush, grove".[1] Lithuanian: uodegis, from uodega, "tail", Portuguese: raposa, from rabo, "tail"[2] and Ojibwa: waagosh, from waa, which refers to the up and down "bounce" or flickering of an animal or its tail.[3] Male foxes are known as dogs or reynards, females as vixen, and young as kits, pups, or cubs.[4] A group of foxes is a "skulk", "troop" or "earth".

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