The gray fox is easily distinguished from the red fox by a mane of short, stiff black hairs along the back leading to a bushy, black-tipped tail. The gray fox is unusual among canines in that it has the ability to climb trees. This has proved to be advantageous in escaping predators and may improve the animal's ability to find food. Their ability to climb trees, as well as a somewhat more aggressive behavior than the red fox, has helped to minimize the effects that eastern coyotes have had on their population.
The gray fox's range extends throughout most of the United States, Mexico, and the tip of South America. Its population is considered stable. They prefer to den in hollow logs, below boulders, or ground burrows. Gray fox prefer a forest habitat, whereas a red fox is more likely to be seen in open terrain. They are opportunistic feeders, mainly consuming small mammals, birds, insects, eggs, and fruits. An adult gray fox has few predators, but a juvenile could be preyed upon by eagles, hawks, owls, bobcats, and coyotes.