How to Tell Red Foxes Apart from Grey Foxes

Tennessee is home to two species of fox, the red fox and the grey fox. Despite their names, color isn’t the best way to tell these beautiful animals apart! An animal can be a member of the red fox species but have nearly any color fur, including silver, white, yellow, brown, and even lavender! This fellow here is a melanistic red fox.

There are several ways to tell our native foxes apart. Red foxes always have a white-tipped tail, while grey foxes always have a black-tipped tail. Grey foxes are more common in forested areas, while red foxes are well-adapted to urban environments. Grey foxes also have round pupils whereas red foxes have slit-shaped pupils. If you ever see a fox in a tree, that’s also very telling, since only grey foxes can climb trees thanks to their retractable claws!

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