IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
By Nick Lloyd - Home - Contact

Foxes in Spain

The fox is probably the most common Spanish carnivore, its numbers estimated at 500,000-1,000,000 individuals. The density of foxes in the Iberian Peninsula is lower than in parts of Northern Europe. This is due to:

  • extremely limiting factor of the Mediterrrenean summer drought
  • more competition from other species (birds of prey, vultures),
  • rabbits haven't recovered in many areas from the disaster of myxamatosis.  
  • There is often considered to be an overpopulation of foxes in Spain as a result of the recent (over last century ) disapperance of super-predators - wolves across much of their range and more importantly lynxes. Lynx will kill any foxes they come across, and as a result there are more rabbits in an area with lynxes. It is said that one of the problems for rabbit reintroduction, perhaps the most important issue affecting wildlife in Spain, is the density of foxes, with no natural check on their number.

    Translation and ethnobiology

    Spanish: zorro
  • Latin: Vulpes vulpes
  • Catalan:  guineu
    Gallego:  raposo
    Euskera:  azeri arrunta 

Local names for fox used in different parts of Spain:

  • Names used to avoid uttering its name and so invoking its presence : Pedro, María García, Alfonso, Andrés
  • Catalán and Valenciano:  guineu, renard, volpell, guineu, guilla, renart, volp, vop, volpell, volpitz, raposa, rabosa

    Gallego:  raposo, xau, golpe

    Euskera:  azeri arrunta.

    La Rioja: garcia

    Jaén: gandano

    Sierra Morena: mariquito

    Aragon: fuina, raboso, rabosa, raposo, raposa, reposo y guineu.

    Asturias: rapiega, rapiegu, raposu y rapusu.


    alfonso, amatulo, amigo, andrés,

    aqueloutro, azel, azelko, azeri arrunta, azeri, azeria, bicho, bravío,

    fuina, gandano, garcia, golpe, golpejos, golpellos, guilla, guinarda, guineu

    comuna, guineu, la zorra, luki, lukia, maría garcía, mariquita, mariquito, o

    amigo das pitas, o amigo dos polos, o artista, o das orellas dereitas, o das

    orellas largas, o das orellas, o das patas lixeiras, o do rabo, o rabilongo,

    o saltaparedes, o sete lanas, pedro, perico, rabosa, raboso, rabuda,

    rapiega, rapiegu, raposa, raposo, raposu, rapusu, renart, reposo, señor,

    volp, volpell, volpitz, vop, vulpeja, vulpes vulpes, xan, xau, zorra,

    zorrilla, zorro común, zorro rojo, zorro.