Grapes are a tasty treat that humans have enjoyed for centuries, but what about our furry friends in the wild? If you’ve spotted a fox raiding your vineyard or pilfering the produce aisle, you may be wondering: do foxes eat grapes?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Foxes do sometimes eat grapes in the wild when they come across them, but grapes are not a major part of the fox diet. Foxes are omnivores and prefer foods like small mammals, birds, insects, and berries.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the fox diet and feeding habits. We’ll discuss what foxes like to eat in the wild, whether they can safely consume grapes, how their diet varies by species, and more. We’ll also bust some common myths about foxes and fruit.

Read on to learn all about the fox’s culinary preferences!

The Fox Diet in the Wild

Foxes Are Omnivores

Foxes are omnivorous canines, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. Though foxes will eat nearly anything when desperate, they prefer meat and thrive best on a carnivorous diet. Mammals make up the bulk of the fox diet, with birds, insects, reptiles, eggs, plants, and fungi rounding out their nutritional needs.

Small Mammals Are Staples of the Fox Diet

Small rodents like mice, voles, rabbits, and hares are the most common foods. Foxes use their excellent sense of hearing to locate small mammals rustling in the undergrowth. Then they pounce to catch their prey. In some regions, rodents make up over 50% of fox diets.

Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians

Birds, eggs, reptiles like lizards and snakes, and amphibians like frogs and toads supplement the fox diet. Foxes raid nests for eggs and chicks and use their vertical leaping ability to pounce up to 2 meters high to catch low-flying birds.

Insects and Other Invertebrates

Foxes eat a wide variety of invertebrates including crickets, beetles, caterpillars, moths, spiders, earthworms, and grubs. These protein-rich foods are vital supplements, especially in spring and summer when insects abound.

Fruits and Berries

Foxes enjoy seasonal fruits and berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, grapes, apples, plums, cherries, pears, and figs. Fruits provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates.


Foxes scavenge opportunistically and eat carrion whenever they can. Food sources are inconsistent in the wild, so foxes rarely waste chances for an easy meal from roadkill or discarded scraps.

Can Foxes Eat Grapes Safely?

Grapes Aren’t Toxic to Foxes Like They Are to Dogs

Unlike dogs, grapes and raisins are not toxic to foxes. The compounds in grapes that are dangerous to dogs do not seem to affect foxes in the same way. So while grapes can be very dangerous for dogs, foxes can safely consume grapes without risk of kidney failure.

But Grapes Still Pose Some Risks

However, just because grapes aren’t toxic to foxes doesn’t mean they are completely risk-free. Grapes still pose some risks and hazards for foxes:

  • Choking Hazard – Grapes can pose a choking risk, especially for young kits.
  • Blockages – Grape seeds and skins can potentially cause gastrointestinal blockages if too many are consumed.
  • Weight Gain – Grapes are high in natural sugars. Too many can lead to unhealthy weight gain in captive foxes.

So while a few grapes here and there are probably fine, foxes should not eat large amounts of grapes at one time.

Ripe vs Unripe Grapes

Ripe grapes contain higher concentrations of sugars compared to unripe grapes. This makes ripe grapes more appealing to foxes but also more problematic if eaten in excess.

Additionally, the seeds and skins of unripe grapes are less soft and more likely to cause obstructions than ripe grape matter. So ripe grapes are likely safer for foxes overall.

Grape Consumption in Captivity vs the Wild

Foxes in the wild tend to eat a varied omnivorous diet consisting of small prey, fruits, vegetables, insects, and more. So wild foxes would only occasionally encounter and consume grapes during certain seasons.

On the other hand, foxes in captivity could potentially access large quantities of grapes, increasing risks. Zookeepers, wildlife rehabilitators, and owners of captive foxes should be cautious about allowing unlimited grape consumption.

In moderation, grapes can provide foxes with hydration, nutrients, and fiber. But allowing captive foxes to overload on grapes can be detrimental to their health and weight. Monitoring portions is advised.

Fox Diet Variations by Species

Red Foxes

The red fox has an extraordinarily diverse diet. They are opportunistic omnivores and will eat just about anything they can find or catch. Common red fox foods include small mammals like voles, mice, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, and squirrels. They also prey on birds and gather fruits and vegetables.

In urban areas, red foxes will scavenge food waste from trash cans and compost piles.

Arctic Foxes

The arctic fox survives on a carnivorous diet primarily consisting of lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish, waterfowl, and seabirds. They also eat carrion of larger animals like caribou. Unlike red foxes, arctic foxes do not have access to terrestrial fruits and vegetables and must rely on the protein sources available in the tundra habitat.

Kit Foxes

Kit foxes mainly feed on rodents such as kangaroo rats, prairie dogs, jackrabbits, and other small animals. They are capable hunters and will also prey on lizards, snakes, birds, insects, and some plant foods. In times of scarcity, kit foxes have great endurance and can survive on very little food.

Gray Foxes

Gray foxes eat small mammals primarily, including mice, voles, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits. They also eat birds and eggs opportunistically. When available, they will eat insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, fruits, nuts, corn, berries, vegetables, and grass.

Fennec Foxes

Fennec foxes forage for plants but mostly eat small rodents like gerbils, jerboas and Cape hares. They have also been observed eating eggs, reptiles, and some insects. Due to the limited food sources available in the Sahara desert, fennec foxes have adapted to survive on very little water.

Foxes and Fruit: Myth vs Fact

Myth: Foxes Love Fruit

Many people mistakenly believe that foxes have a strong appetite for fruit. This myth likely stems from the fact that foxes belong to the canine family, and some canines like dogs enjoy treats like apples and bananas. However, the diet of foxes in the wild is very different from domesticated dogs.

Fact: Foxes Prefer Meat

While foxes are omnivores that can eat plant materials, the reality is that foxes strongly prefer meat and protein sources. Studies of fox diet have shown that 90% or more of the diet of wild foxes consists of small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, and other prey.

Fruits comprise a very small portion of their diet.

Foxes have evolved as opportunistic predators of small prey. Their anatomy and hunting behaviors are adapted for catching and eating meat. Foxes have sharp, pointed teeth suited for killing prey. They have excellent sight and hearing to locate prey animals.

While foxes will sometimes eat berries if readily available, they prefer to expend their energy hunting for rodents and other small mammals.

Myth: Foxes Will Raid Fruit Trees and Vineyards

Some people spread frightening tales of foxes raiding fruit orchards and destroying crops. However, research shows these claims are largely exaggerated. According to wildlife experts, foxes could potentially nibble on fallen fruit below trees but pose little real harm to orchards.

One study tested the effects of fox activity in a German vineyard. Researchers found minimal losses of grapes due to fox activity. The evidence showed that foxes were not significantly attracted to ripe grapes.

Claims that foxes will destroy orchards most likely originate from exaggerated stories rather than scientific data.

Fact: Foxes Are Opportunistic Foragers

The truth is that foxes have diverse diets and tend to forage opportunistically. While the bulk of their diet consists of rodents, rabbits, birds, and insects, foxes will also occasionally eat fruits, vegetables, fish, frogs, and garbage if readily available.

Foxes are adaptable generalist foragers, not specialized fruit lovers.

According to wildlife biologists, foxes eat fruit only 1-2% of the time, mostly when other preferred foods are scarce. Foxes do not have an innate drive to eat fruit but are flexible enough to take advantage of whatever food presents itself in their habitat.

Overall, the idea that foxes love fruit or pose a major threat to orchards is more myth than fact.

When Do Foxes Eat Grapes in the Wild?

During Times of Scarce Prey

Foxes are opportunistic feeders and will eat a wide variety of foods depending on availability. According to the Mass Audubon, when their preferred foods like rabbits, mice, and birds are scarce, foxes will supplement their diet with fruit and vegetation.

Grapes can provide an excellent source of sugars and carbohydrates to fuel the fox when hunting is poor.

Late winter and early spring when prey is still in short supply after winter can be one time when foxes rely more on grapes in vineyards, orchards, or the wild. One study in New York state vineyards found fox activity in the grape vines peaked in early May through late June as juvenile foxes came out of the den and prey was still rebuilding numbers.

When Grapes Are Very Ripe and Plentiful

Foxes also tend to target grapes more when they are fully ripe and abundant. The sugars in the grape rise dramatically right before harvest, making the fruit far more attractive to foxes and many other animals as well at this stage.

In vineyards, the risk of fox damage to the grape crop increases in the weeks right before harvest when the fruit is sweet and plump. Farmers often need to take preventative measures like noise makers, lights, or fencing to deter foxes during this vulnerable time.

Outside of managed crops, foxes also gravitate to wild and roadside grape vines heavy with fully ripened fruit.

When Grapes Are Easily Accessible

studies show foxes are more likely to access and consume grapes when the fruit within easy reach. Foxes are too small to reach fruit high up on grape vines and generally target grapes close to the ground or on lower hanging bunches.

This is why damage from foxes often occurs on perimeter rows of vineyards bordering woodlands. These edge vines also tend to ripen earlier, providing an irresistible lure. In the wild, foxes look for easily accessible native grapes and fruit, passed over by larger wildlife, in addition to their regular prey.


While grapes do occasionally factor into the fox diet, they are not a preferred food source. Foxes are highly adaptable omnivores and eat what is readily available, but overall they prefer small prey animals, eggs, insects, and other protein-rich foods.

Grapes are more of an opportunistic snack than a dietary staple.

The bottom line is that foxes will sometimes sample grapes in the wild when the conditions are right, but you won’t often find them targeting vineyards or raiding fruit bowls. Their tastes run more towards savory rodents and birds.

Hopefully this article gave you some fun fox facts and shed light on the fox’s culinary inclinations when it comes to grapes and other fruits.

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