There is an area that I would like to explore at daytime and at night time.

I have seen only two foxes in that area during the day time. One of the locals told me not to go out at night because foxes hunt as pack and they might attack even a human.

It almost sounds to me like the foxes live close to the area.

Do foxes care day/night when they decide to attack human?

What triggers them to attack a human?

Update 1: To everyone who took time to write answers & comments, I'm really sorry. I somehow thought it was foxes..I should have asked "When/Where do coyotes attack human?". However, I think it's nice to know..foxes do not attack human..

  • 1
    Can you add your location to this please? Also is this an Urban area, or a Rural one? Red foxes or another species? Urban red foxes tend to be way less timid than rural red foxes, and they hunt only mice and other small mammals, humans are way too big :)
    – Aravona
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 9:29
  • 1
    Fox attacks are incredibly rare (like one a decade rare!) and even then they will only attack small children and even then there is usually mitagating circumstances (city fox lost it's fear of humans, etc.) To a fox, a human is a predator, they don't come anywhere near if they can avoid it
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 9:53
  • 8
    What country is this? I've never seen foxes working in a pack, they are typicaly solitary. They can be quite bold, but they (rightly) fear humans. A fox is quite a small animal. It would stand absolutely no chance against an adult human. Some foxes have bitten children, but such things are very unusual. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 17:17
  • 1
    I don't want to make an answer but a fox will avoid you like the plague. I've had one run flat in to a wall because it was concentrating on making sure i wasn't following.
    – Terry
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 17:57
  • 3
    @Moon - A Siberian Husky would be twice the weight of any fox. Sure you're not thinking of Coyotes (which can hunt in packs) or Montain Lion/Puma?
    – Roddy
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 10:10

3 Answers 3


TLDR: Foxes do not attack humans. So you can go there day and night. To me this sounds more like a spooking story than reality.

Foxes hunt very small animals, humans are way too big for them. Anyway, in their natural habitat they are extremely shy and will run away from you most likely before you are even aware of its presence.

Foxes with rabies can lose their natural fear of humans. I know that Switzerland and UK are considered rabies free and I believe this is true for many European countries. So this is no concern in these areas, in other parts of the world it is a valid concern. Not specific to foxes but in many species.

Another problem is that foxes penetrate urban areas scavenging for food. There they get somewhat accustomed to people. While this mean that the chances of coming across a fox is higher, they are still shy and will never be the aggressor. Of course the usual applies: If you corner the animal or if you threaten pups, they will attack - but only as the very last measure.

To specifically answer the question about whether they attack at day or night: Neither, as explained above. But as they are mainly night active, you are more likely to encounter one at night so the extremely unlikely event of an attack would be more likely at night.

One personal experience: We once grilled chicken in the forest close to a city. There was one fox who tried over and over to get close so it can steal some chicken. Whenever we saw it and made any motion towards it, it ran away. However it was extremely cunning at moving in the shades of the trees, so with time it got quite close, but never reached its goal. :)

  • 1
    Anyway, in their natural habitat they are extremely shy Not so on Santa Cruz Island where they have the audacity (and size) of a cat. Island fox.
    – gerrit
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 11:30
  • 5
    The US is definitely not rabies free. cdc.gov/rabies/location/usa/surveillance/index.html
    – toni
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 12:05
  • Thanks for the information. I am talking about the most common fox on the northern hemisphere (red fox), I unfortunately do not know anything about their other counterparts. @offbyoni I corrected my wrong guess about rabies in the states.
    – imsodin
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 12:18
  • 3
    As you bring up rabies, if bitten by a wild animal, or any animal that cannot be examined to determine the possibility of rabies, go to a doctor or emergency room and get a shot. Don't ever wait. After the onset of rabies it is too late.
    – Bent
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 8:46
  • 2
    'Foxes do not attack humans'. Technically, this is untrue. It's highly unlikely that a fox or even a group of foxes would attack an adult human - but there have been many reported incidents of foxes attacking babies and toddlers, including in the UK. e.g. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-125763/… Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 13:49

Urban red foxes have been known to be a tad vicious or territorial and attack people... but it is not a common occurrence by any means, usually it's due to the fox having gotten itself into a cornered situation, they then act as any wild animal will and potentially strike. There is always the odd news story of a fox getting into a house, and attacking people... but it's uncommon, and for the majority of interactions, the fox only strikes as it cannot escape. The majority of them are simply made up by people who have had vague experiences... Not all pet dogs attack, but once bitten twice shy. Rabid foxes are also, like urban foxes, less wary of humans than their rural counterparts. Also an injured fox may attempt to bite you if you get too close, but this is common of any wild animal that has an injury.

That said, I've never had a bad experience with either an urban or rural red fox. Usually they just run away from you. I've seen some beautiful red foxes in my town, and out in the woods, they look at you, they may watch a while, but they don't come close, or let you get close.

Red foxes are not massive pack animals, but they will hunt with their cubs, to teach them until they move on on their own. They for the most part hunt small rodents, nothing bigger than a rabbit. Foxes are known to scavenge in bins, eat nuts and berries... they're opportunistic.

You will more likely see a fox at dusk, or at night, but they do not attack people so there is no worry about exploring an area either at day or night. That said you should always be respectful of whenever you are exploring, and be aware that your torchlight could easily disturb, or spook, a number of nocturnal animals.

Just a note when we have our dog around we actually have noticed the red foxes will linger longer... we recently had a fox run right into a field maybe 5 meters from us, stop dead and stare at the dog, then run off after a few seconds. Taking a dog exploring with you at night in a foxes habitat is something I would say you need to be aware of - but again the fox will likely just run.

  • Thank you Aravona. It's funny. The foxes I'm concerned with are not any where near a city. Their home ground is a remote place, but there is a road near it. Many people stop and feed those foxes. Now...they do not fear human.
    – Moon
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 4:00

It sounds like they were telling tales, possibly for your own good.

Exploring by night can be extremely dangerous, for reasons that have nothing to do with foxes. Tripping, falling, or just plain walking into a tree are very real dangers.

Foxes, however, are not[1].

They do hunt in small family groups (a skulk, not a pack), but target prey like mice. They might attack a small child, but only in times of great hunger, as prey that size is a huge gamble. For comparison, a dog the size of a small child would do significant damage to a skulk, and would probably kill a lone fox. Granted, this is because that size of dog is often of a breed developed for dog fights, but it's still bad news for the foxes.

Taking on an adult human would be akin to you deciding the Bengal Tiger at the zoo needs to be put in it's place, and it's your job to do it, - with your bare hands. It's not going to end well for one of you, and my money is on the tiger.

  1. Unless you do something stupid, like picking up one of those adorable little kits. Of course, humans have been known to take out cougars bare handed when children are in danger, so I guess it all comes down to motivation.
  • "Exploring by night can be extremely dangerous". ?? Well, you can make all the mistakes you list just as well in daylight. With a decent headtorch, good navigation skills and common sense it's an incredible experience.
    – Roddy
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 22:32
  • 1
    If you have a headlight, good navigation skills, then your common sense should tell you that moving around at night is a bad idea. Yes, accidents can happen during the daytime, but they happen far more easily at night, and patching yourself up after a accident is at least an order of magnitude more difficult in the dark. Unless you are part of a large group, and have medical backup, you should only move around in the dark in a wilderness situation if you have no other choice. Where I live, foxes aren't the problem, bears are. A bear that you can avoid in the day is deadly in the dark.
    – Morgen
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 22:44
  • Don't understand the point of being in a large group in the wilderness. Too much chatter!
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 23:55
  • @ab2 Boy Scouts is one example, need to teach the next generation somehow.
    – Morgen
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 23:56
  • 1
    @Morgen OK, Girl Scouts another.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 0:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.