With their pointy ears, sleek fur, and love of chicken, foxes have long been misunderstood. Are they a type of dog? A cousin of the cat? Or something else entirely? The answer is… it depends on who you ask. Cats and dogs are the primary domesticated species. These animals live with humans in our homes, on our farms, and even in our research laboratories. As such, these animals have been exhaustively researched to understand their habits, diet, and family tree. But not every species has gotten the same attention as cats and dogs. However, with the rise of interest in all things “natural” and “medieval”, foxes have received more attention from biologists than ever before. Whether they’re canines or felines has implications for everything from zoos to conservation efforts. Let’s take a look at what we know about these mysterious creatures!
Are Foxes Canines Or Felines?
Foxes are canines. Canines are a mammalian order that includes dogs, wolves, and foxes. They are distinguished from felines (cats) by their characteristic four-chambered heart,dog-like skull shape, and single joint on the second toe of the hind foot. Foxes typically have long faces, pointy ears, and fluffy tails. They are omnivorous animals that live in a variety of habitats around the world.
What’s The Difference Between Dogs And Cats?
1. Cats Can’t Taste Sweet To The Degree Dogs Can
Cats and dogs are the most studied of all animals. Scientists have studied their behavior, physiology, and genetics. What’s more, these studies have been conducted on countless generations of cats and dogs. This has allowed scientists to uncover many fascinating facts about these two species. One such fact is that dogs can taste sweet to a degree that cats cannot. In fact, they can taste sweetness a full two points higher than cats can! This may seem like an insignificant detail, but it has implications for food choices and how we feed our pets!
2. Cats Have Five Legs While Dogs Have Four
In addition to their different tastes in food, scientists have found that there is another difference between the two species: their legs! Cats have five legs while dogs only have four. Not only does this make them appear more “cat-like” to us humans, but it also gives them a leg up on other animals in the wild who may be smaller or weaker than them! It also makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint: as cats became domesticated over time, they would have had to trade some of their speed for increased strength so they could hunt prey.
3. The Biggest Cat In The World Is A Tiger
Another difference between cats and dogs is their size. While dogs tend to be smaller than their wild counterparts, there are still some exceptions! For example, the biggest cat in the world is a tiger! In fact, tigers are larger than lions and much larger than leopards. The largest cat on record was shot by British naturalist William MacGillivray in 1869 and weighed an incredible 711 pounds! This cat would have been much larger than any domestic dog of that time period!
4. Cats Can Swim Better Than Dogs
Scientists have found that cats can swim better than dogs can! Whether it’s to hunt or to escape from danger, felines are masters of swimming. In fact, they’re so good at it that they can swim at speeds up to 40 miles per hour! That’s faster than any dog or wolf has ever been documented as swimming! As such, it may not be a stretch to say that cats are actually better swimmers than dogs are. This could explain why cats tend to be more aquatic (like seals) while dogs tend to be more terrestrial (like wolves).
5. Cats Can See In The Dark
While dogs can see in the dark, cats are able to see even better! In fact, they are able to see at a range of over three times that of humans! This is especially helpful for cats who hunt at night, as they can use their eyes to sense prey that is moving around in the darkness. In addition to this, cats also have much more sensitive hearing than dogs do. This allows them to catch even small noises like mice and other animals running away from them!
Foxes Are Canines
- Foxes are members of the Canidae family, which also includes dogs, wolves, jackals, and coyotes.
- Foxes are one of the only canines that have vestigial teeth in their upper jaws. This means that foxes’ canines are shorter than those of other canines (the canine teeth in a wolf or a dog would be about the same length).
- Foxes are omnivores; they eat both meat and plants. They prefer meat but will eat anything from insects to nuts and fruit as well.
- The fox’s diet is not exclusively meat; they will eat rabbit, deer, rodents and birds as well!
- Foxes are opportunistic omnivores who do not have to hunt for food every day as most carnivores do; instead they scavenge when possible (hence their reputation as pests).
- The average lifespan of a fox is 7-12 years (though some may live longer). The record-holding fox lived to be 15 years old!
- Because their diet varies so greatly depending on what is available in each region, foxes do not have a strong sense of territory like many other canines. They are also extremely flexible in their diet.
Foxes Are Not Either
1. Canines Or Felines
The classification of animals is often a tricky matter. The two canine species, the fox and the dog, are often lumped together as one of these two. The dog, however, is not truly a domesticated species. Dogs were originally “wild” dogs that lived in packs with wolves and other wild animals. They were not domesticated to live with humans and were instead bred for their hunting abilities as well as their size. Foxes are actually more closely related to cats than they are to dogs.
2. Dog Or Cat
The Félidés (the scientific name for the cat) and Canidae (the scientific name for dogs) have been studied extensively over time and both have been given numerous names. Scientists classify them into suborders based on where they fit into the family tree of the Felidae group (which includes cats). There are five suborders that make up this group: Prioninae (African wildcats), Feliformia (civets), Viverrinae (civets), Felinae (cats) and Carnivora (all other carnivores). Although it is sometimes easier to classify them based on their behavior or physical characteristics, scientific names should be used.
3. Wild Or Domestic
Both cats and dogs are considered to be domesticated species. However, they have different origins. Dogs were originally bred by humans to hunt and guard sheep and other livestock. Cats were not domesticated at all; they are the only true wild animals that live in human homes today.
4. Big Or Small
Both cats and dogs are generally considered to be medium-sized animals, but there are differences between the two groups when it comes to size. The dog is slightly larger than the cat with a total length of about 65 cm (26 inches). The fox is slightly smaller than both of these animals with a total length of about 55 cm (22 inches).
In conclusion, foxes are neither canines nor felines but unique species all on their own. Though they share some traits with both groups of animals, their DNA, diets, and physical characteristics set them apart as their own category of creature altogether. The next time you see a fuzzy little fox scampering around, you’ll know just what kind of animal it is!