Foxy Visitors (Warning: Large Photos!)

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mrsmig

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For the past six years or so, we've had the occasional red fox sighting in our neighborhood, and occasionally even had them appear in our back yard. This winter, however, we suddenly seem to be overjoyed with them. This may be because I feed birds - which means, against my will, I am also feeding gray squirrels - which the foxes view as a tasty treat when they can get one (with my full blessing).

About a month ago, however, I spotted a mangy young fox in the yard. This is Wisp:

wispthefox.jpg


A day or two later I spotted Patch, who has a bare spot on her/his right shoulder which may or may not also be mange.

patchthefox.jpg

patchshoulder.jpg


Within a week I spotted still another fox, which I called Shine because of its beautiful coat. Shine doesn't appear to have mange:

shine.jpg


And on Christmas Day, we were visited by a fourth fox. This one's left hind leg is either badly dislocated or broken, so the fox can't put weight on it. I call it Hop:

hopthefox.jpg


I contacted a wildlife rehabber about Wisp, and she informed me that animal control will catch foxes, but only to euthanize them since the fox is a rabies vector species. Local ordinances prevent both the trapping of foxes (which means the rehabbers can't help them), and even though there's medicine readily available to treat sarcoptic mange (which is rampant in the local fox population), it can only legally be administered by a vet. So there's the Catch-22; you can't trap a fox to take it to the vet for the meds - not even if you're a rehabber. Local law prohibits the feeding of foxes as well.

I am normally a law-abiding citizen, but I can only stand by so long and watch wild things suffer. So without going into detail, let me just say I'm doing what I can. ;)

Neither my husband nor I want to make "pets" of these wild things, and we are trying to both keep our distance and not make them dependent on handouts. We do enjoy watching them and to that end my husband gave me an infrared trail camera for Christmas. We've gotten some lovely photos and videos in the past two days.

Anyone else have foxy visitors?
 
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heza

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We lived in an apartment last year, on the ground level with a patio that backed to a creek and a pretty little forest. I was up early one morning and was out on the patio with the dog when a small gray fox (that the dog didn't notice) casually trotted around the building toward us through the flower bed. When it looked up and saw the patio was occupied, it just paused a moment, changed direction slightly and trotted off into the trees. It was all very lovely. I noticed the dog and cat had been sniffing some bedding we kept on the patio around that time, so I suspect the fox was maybe snuggling up there on occasion (it was a heavy winter). I wish I'd gotten pictures.

The house we're in now also backs to a creek and trees, but we have a serious wood fence in place because of coyotes, so we can't really see much except the squirrels who are quite the acrobats and very entertaining.


I feel bad for your sick foxes and without encouraging law breaking, I will just wish you luck with whatever endeavors you should choose or not choose to undertake in the near future, or not, whatever. I didn't see anything, officer. :)
 

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Lovely pics! We get foxes here all the time, but we mostly see them at night. I spotted one last week.

Oh, and I saw a young one ("cocky teenager" stage), when was it, a month ago maybe?, in broad daylight in the woods near home. There was a bloke skipping rope behind me, and the young fox was fascinated. So was I, I must say, because I'm rubbish at skipping rope. I do twenty and then my legs and the rope make some sort of unsightly knot. Anyway, the fox half-hid behind a tree when I walked past, but didn't run or anything. I tried getting a pic with my phone. Didn't work so well.

Last summer was really fun, because there were four young ones running about around the flat. Between them and the Tawny Owl hooting, we hardly had any sleep! I'm not complaining, though.
 

mrsmig

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Had a good day for fox sightings today. I have suspected that there's a fifth fox visiting the yard, and today I got a good look when it came into the yard stalking gray squirrels. It's a male, with a distinctive kink about two-thirds of the way down its tail. I christened it Kink:

kinkthefox.jpg


After one or two false starts, Kink finally caught and killed a squirrel, and just as he did, Wisp suddenly appeared out of the underbrush in my neighbor's yard. Kink hurried out of the yard (and out of sight) with Wisp on his heels. I hadn't seen Wisp in nearly a week, and s/he is looking much better - still scraggly and unsightly, but much more vigorous.

wispthefox2.jpg
 

Chris P

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Those are wonderful! I've seen foxes in Arlington, mostly sneaking through back yards. I suspect they live near the river and explore the neighborhoods looking for tasty morsels.
 

mrsmig

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Thank you! I'm now not entirely certain that Kink and Shine aren't one and the same. I'll have to study it/them further.

I really do enjoy seeing the foxes in the yard, and am gratified that Wisp seems better. Of course I haven't been doing any of the naughty things the local authorities forbid me to do...no, not me. :greenie
 

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Those are super photos! I'm envious. I think I've heard foxes yipping late at night, but haven't seen any here. They're welcome to the gray squirrels though . . .
 

mrsmig

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Thank you!

When they are in season or being territorial, they make the most awful screaming sound. The first time I heard one I thought a woman was being attacked.

Here's a good video with some of the sounds they make. The scream is second in: Fox Sounds
 

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Hi
I live in an area that has lots of urban Foxes . Noting divides your neighbours more , when you have fox cubs living under your shed . I know all the argument about feeding and caring for wild animals , However I can't watch an animal suffer . In the UK it is easy to obtain mange treatment for free , Here
Sarcoptic Mange Treatment | Free fox mange treatment | foxes, red fox, sick fox, injured foxes,

Leg injuries are common among foxes , the there is network volunteers that can help.
 
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MaryMumsy

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Many years ago my parents had a red fox show up on their property in the country/forest. She had an injured leg. My Mom, being my Mom, would feed her. She started showing up most days in the mid afternoon. In the late fall Mom and Dad left for the winter. In the spring, when they went back north, fox started showing up after about a week. And she had two kits with her. They hung around all summer, until Mom and Dad left for the winter again. The next year they didn't come back, and we've never seen a fox on the property again.

MM
 

mrsmig

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Hi
I live in an area that has lots of urban Foxes . Noting divides your neighbours more , when you have fox cubs living under your shed . I know all the argument about feeding and caring for wild animals , However I can't watch an animal suffer . In the UK it is easy to obtain mange treatment for free , Here
Sarcoptic Mange Treatment | Free fox mange treatment | foxes, red fox, sick fox, injured foxes,

Leg injuries are common among foxes , the there is network volunteers that can help.

The UK seems a lot more tolerant of foxes than my local municipality here in the U.S. As I said earlier, the Catch-22 is that it's illegal to feed them or medicate them, and illegal to trap them so you can take them to a wildlife rehabber. Animal control will trap them, but only to euthanize them.
 

mrsmig

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Kink was pretty active in the back yard today. At one point he leaped the chain link fence into my neighbor's yard, but a moment later came flying back at a dead run which terminated in the oddest lamb-like bounce. Then he turned around and stared back intently at whatever had spooked him. He was nearly standing on his hind legs.

kinkthefoxwatching.jpg


You can really see the pronounced kink in his tail that gave him his name. I'm also pretty sure, now that I have better photos of him, that he and Shine are not the same fox. His front stockings are far darker and his muzzle is darker as well.

Hop came into the yard about fifteen minutes later. Kink had scarfed up all the available goodies, so there was nothing for Hop to scrounge. :(
 
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mrsmig

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Patch has been in the yard this afternoon, and after a while Kink showed up. Both of them were chasing squirrels but not catching anything - and definitely not hunting together. At one point, though, they both took off after the same squirrel, but it managed to get up a nearby tree unscathed. I caught this shot of the two foxes looking after it. (Patch is in the foreground.)

kink-and-patch.jpg


The next moment they bared their teeth at each other, then separated and went off in different directions.
 

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Is Patch missing a front leg?

ETA: Oh, hold on, no; it's just that his leg is so dark it moves to the back, visually!
 

mrsmig

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Other than the big bald patch on his right shoulder (hence his name), Patch is in very good shape. I used to think the patch was mange; now I'm thinking it may just be the remnants of an old injury, since he exhibits no other signs of mange. He and Kink are the only two I've been able to identify as males - I saw Patch lifting his leg to mark territory earlier today, and about a week back Kink obligingly sat out in the open in a rather coarse posture when I had binoculars handy.

Between poor mangy Wisp, Hop the lame fox, and the new fox who visited the yard two nights ago (who was both lame and mangy), there's enough misery to go around. Seeing one with only three legs would make me wretched. On the other hand, there's Toby, my sister's three-legged dog, a rescue who is so energetic and agile that it's easy to forget he's a tripod.
 
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mrsmig

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If you're interested, I wrote a blog about the foxes, which includes some video of Patch and Kink playing (I wasn't able to figure out how to post it here at AW):

The Christmas Foxes in January
 

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That's so very cool; thanks for the link!
 

mrsmig

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Right on the heels of making that post, Kink came into the yard for a snack (cheese was on the menu), then started stalking something on the other side of a huge sawgrass plant that grows between our deck and the chain link fence that separates our place from our neighbor to the north. Finally made a run at whatever it was and disappeared behind the sawgrass. My husband and I ran to the kitchen window for a different angle on the scene, and damned if there wasn't a Cooper's Hawk sitting on the fence rail, with Kink looking up at it from the ground.

All I can think is that the Cooper's was after the house sparrows that hang out in the sawgrass. It might have dived for one and ended up on the ground. That happens on occasion. It may be that Kink saw a big sumpin' on the ground and went for it. They both looked a bit nonplussed and had a bit of a stand-off: fox staring up at the hawk; hawk with wings folded but slightly raised, as if ready to fly or attack. I had the camera in my hand but couldn't get a decent shot. Finally the hawk flew into our dogwood tree, stayed there for a minute, then took off. I was running from window to window and didn't get a good enough look to see if the hawk had prey or not. Kink went back to the rear of the yard, got another piece of cheese and disappeared into the underbrush of another neighbor's yard.
 

mrsmig

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Pleased to report that Wisp the Mangy Fox has been back in the yard after dark, and because of the time stamps on my trail camera I was able to guess when s/he would be back, and put out some medicated food. Success! The trail cam showed that Wisp got it, rather than Kink or Patch, who are the two main visitors to the yard.

Because Wisp has gotten three full doses of meds, and actually appears to have peach fuzz appearing on the bare spots, I've been dialing back on feeding the foxes. I don't want them to get too used to coming into the yard, although I think it's always going to be part of their "route" through the neighborhood. Kink was hanging around the other day, more interested in squirrels than the feeder sites. That's the reason for the rather glam pose here: a squirrel was in the tree overhead.

glamkink.jpg
 
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cmhbob

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Very cool!

Years ago in Ohio we had a pair of coyotes spend an hour or so working their way along our property, hunting field mice. It was a lot of fun watching them. I heard foxes at our last house, and we've got a Cooper who hunts our yard at the new house.

Got to see two bald eagles in the wild over the last couple of years, too!