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Foxes may cause serious problems for poultry producers. Turkeys raised in large range pens are subject to damage by foxes. Losses may be heavy in small farm flocks of chickens, ducks, and geese. Young pigs, lambs, and small pets are also killed by foxes. Damage can be difficult to detect because the prey is usually carried from the kill site to a den site, or uneaten parts are buried. Foxes usually attack the throat of young livestock, but some kill by inflicting multiple bites to the neck and back. Foxes do not have the size or strength to hold adult livestock or to crush the skull and large bones of their prey. They generally prefer the viscera and often begin feeding through an entry behind the ribs. Foxes will also scavenge carcasses, making the actual cause of death difficult to determine.
Pheasants, waterfowl, other game birds, and small game mammals are also preyed upon by foxes. At times, fox predation may be a significant mortality factor for upland and wetland birds, including some endangered species.
The incidence of rabies in foxes has declined substantially since the mid-1960s for unexplained reasons. In 1990, there were only 197 reported cases of fox rabies in the United States as compared to 1,821 for raccoons and 1,579 for skunks. Rabid foxes are a threat to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife.
People get fleaborne typhus from an infected flea. Most fleas defecate while biting; the feces of infected fleas contain the bacteria that cause the disease. The bacteria enter the body at the time of the bite wound or from scratching of the bite area. It is possible to get typhus by inhaling contaminated, dried flea feces. However, this method of transmission is not as common as transmission from a biting flea.