In Japanese folklore, a kitsune posseses magical powers. Foremost among these is the ability to shapeshift into human form; a fox is said to learn to do this when it attains a certain age (usually a hundred years, though some stories say fifty).
Other magical powers commonly attributed to the kitsune include possession, the ability to generate fire from their tails or to breathe fire, the power to manifest in dreams, and the ability to create illusions so elaborate as to be almost indistinguishable from reality.
Some stories go further still, speaking of kitsune with the ability to bend time and space, to drive people mad, or to take such nonhuman and fantastic shapes as a tree of incredible height or a second moon in the sky.
Occasionally kitsune are ascribed a characteristic reminiscent of vampires or succubi — these kitsune feed on the life or spirit of humans, generally through sexual contact.