Black bears are omnivores. They eat plants and also hunt some animals around them. Since foxes are also in their habitat, can they eat them too?
Here is what you should know-
Yes, black bears can eat foxes. However, it’s rare for these bears to hunt down foxes unless they lack their usual food.
A black bear’s primary diet consists of green plants and other small animals, which include foxes.
Now you know that black bears eat foxes, even though they don’t always do it.
But, when you look deeper, there are many species of foxes. So which species do black bears prefer?
Keep reading below to find out!
Table of Contents
- What Kind of Foxes Do Black Bears Eat?
- Why Do Black Bears Eat Foxes?
- Where Do Black Bears Hunt Foxes?
- How Do Black Bears Prey on Foxes?
- What Other Animals Do Black Black Bears Eat Besides Fox?
What Kind of Foxes Do Black Bears Eat?
Do Black Bears Eat Red Foxes?
Yes, black bears eat red foxes, and in most cases, they prefer going for the cubs. To clarify, younger red foxes are easy to prey on since they are slow.
This way, black bears can attack them easily once the opportunity comes. In addition, red foxes are also plenty in the black bears’ habitat.
Most black bears are around the northern hemisphere. In this case, they can easily come across red foxes, which are also plenty in this region.
Do Black Bears Eat Arctic Foxes?
Black bears do not eat Arctic foxes primarily because they are not in the same environment.
In other words, black bears mostly live in the woodland and forests of the northern regions like North America. On the other hand, Arctic foxes are mostly in polar regions with harsh cold temperatures.
However, black bears can eat Arctic foxes if they meet. This is because Arctic foxes are not quite different from red foxes in their physical size.
Do Black Bears Eat Gray Foxes?
Yes, black bears eat gray foxes whenever possible since they live in the same environment. Despite that, gray foxes are tricky for black bears to hunt due to their color.
To clarify, gray foxes’ color blends in perfectly with the surrounding terrain. As a result, black bears can rarely see them as easily as they do with red foxes.
Why Do Black Bears Eat Foxes?
Black bears usually eat foxes because of various factors, and below are some of the main ones:
Lack of food is the main reason that pushes black bears to eat different types of foxes. In normal cases, black bears feed on roots, berries, insects, succulent plants, larvae, and fish.
Once these common foods become scarce seasonally, black bears go for foxes. They even hunt them down since they are the only meat available.
Additionally, there are specific times of the year when black bears eat foxes due to food scarcity. In most cases, these periods are between early winter and late fall.
During this time, it is very hard for black bears to find nuts and berries.
Black bears are among the top opportunistic feeders in the wild. This means they would feed on a fox when they come across it, even when berries are around.
For example, if a black bear meets with a fox with injuries, it will not spare it. This would seem like a perfect chance to eat the fox without hunting it down.
In other words, any unsafe fox is an easy meal for the black bear.
Conflicts involving territory dominance are also a common reason black bears eat foxes. For instance, black bears would eat foxes when both creatures fight over something.
This would be a move to show dominance and scare away the other animals. During this time, they also feed on foxes as a sign of response to a previous attack or fight.
In clarification, it is clear that some black bear attacks toward foxes act as revenge.
Black bears tend to explore new things in their environment. During this time, they may meet with foxes and kill them for food.
However, such cases are relatively rare even though they happen.
Where Do Black Bears Hunt Foxes?
When black bears decide to look for foxes, they may hunt them down in several places around their habitat. Some of the leading places include:
Foxes mostly stay in dens where they look after their young ones. Thus, it is a huge advantage for the black bears since they easily find them here without looking for long.
The fact that young foxes are also in these dens is an advantage. Black bears easily attack these young ones since they can barely defend themselves.
Parks and Green Spaces
In some suburban areas, black bears may scavenge foxes and eat them. Likewise, they may opportunistically feed on foxes in parks.
In other words, they may just meet them in the open section of a park and attack them for food.
Places with large forest coverings are also a hub for black bears to prey on foxes. There are many foxes in forested areas due to the protection and food that comes with the woods.
However, black bears are also plenty in such environments. As a result, black bears can easily hunt foxes without searching for long.
Riparian zones are places along rivers, streams, and lakes. Black bears can easily attack foxes in the riparian zones when they are both out to drink water.
Foxes may be out in such places to hunt down rodents, but black bears turn the game around quite quickly.
Therefore, since the riparian zones attract both creatures, it becomes a place for black bears to eat foxes.
How Do Black Bears Prey on Foxes?
Black bears prey on foxes in various ways, which include:
Chasing foxes is one of the most effective ways black bears prey on foxes. Despite that, these mammals rarely use this method since they must be in an open place to be successful.
Black can run faster for short periods, and it’s a move that makes them successful in a fox hunt.
This method of attack is not common for black bears, but it’s effective. In this case, they would jump immediately on a stationary fox and hold it tightly.
However, this preying mostly works when a fox is unaware of the black bear’s presence. As a result, black bears never use this method all the time.
The riparian zones and the dens are the only places black bears use these methods on foxes.
Black bears have powerful claws, and they put them into action when preying on foxes. In this case, they strike the red fox immediately to cause serious damage.
Once the red fox is down, they can hit it with the paws to cause further damage before eating. As a result, this method is effective for black bears, and they use it more often.
What Other Animals Do Black Black Bears Eat Besides Fox?
Black bears have extraordinary hunting skills and can attack foxes and other animals. Some of the top animals that they can eat are:
Black bears eat foxes even though they don’t always do it. In most cases, these mammals would only hunt down foxes:
- When there is food scarcity
- When the opportunity comes by
- When they are exploring the habitat around
- If there is a conflict involving the territory
Remember that black bears have many hunting techniques that make killing foxes effective. Some of these methods are:
- Paw striking
- Chasing or pursuing
So, black bears can eat foxes and other animals like bobcats and beavers. Does this mean they can eat rabbits too?
Find out that answer and more in our article – Do Black Bears Eat Rabbits?
- What Do Black Bears Eat – Outdoor Life
- What are Some Interesting Facts About Black bears? – Yellowstone Bear World
- Do Black Bears Eat Red Foxes? – Study.com