Foxy Visitors (Warning: Large Photos!)

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mrsmig

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I think it probably registered the sudden, way-too-close movement of its reflection - something it wouldn't have seen until it was in close proximity to the mirror. It might also have caught a glimpse of its own eyes, which reflect white because of the infrared camera.

In any case, it was certainly spooked. The funny thing is, a couple of mornings back a young deer was in the yard and caught sight of itself in the mirror. It spent some time looking at its reflection, bobbing its head up and down as if trying to figure out why the deer was visible low but not high. (And it did check behind the mirror - all of the animals who've interacted with the mirror have had a look behind it.)

My "regular" foxes were wary of it at first, but now they ignore it. Hemsworth was the least concerned of all - he had a look at it the first night it was out, but he didn't get spun up about it at all. It takes a lot to distract Hemsworth from his chow.
 
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mrsmig

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There's been a changeover in personnel on the fox front: although Hemsworth still comes around on occasion, another dog fox seems to have claimed the territory. Dude was an occasional visitor over the summer/fall, but now he and his mate (I've christened her Maude) are the first to appear when the food goes out, and I suspect may be denning in my neighbor's yard. Dude is taller than Hemsworth; Maude is smaller than he and feisty. My trail cam footage shows me that they're in and out through the night, and often make a final visit just as the sun is coming up. My #2 cam caught Maude this morning:

maude-crop-filter-small.jpg


It's not the greatest quality (it was still pretty dark out and I had to use a filter to make her more visible), but you can see her thick, club-shaped brush which is, so far, the only defining characteristic I've been able to spot. Dude's tail is thinner, with a bit of a white tip. I've uploaded a recent video on YouTube, in which Maude is giving Dude a major hard time for trying to horn in on the last few scraps of the evening.

Also, just for fun, here is Hemsworth getting a bad taste from the dish. I think he licked up some kosher salt that my husband insisted on adding to some of the fox snacks - and his reaction is...interesting. (I've told my husband NO MORE SALT.)
 

MaeZe

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I think the ever so slight fuzziness in the image is wonderful. Maybe an accident but it gives the image an artistic quality.
 

mrsmig

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Just when I was congratulating myself on the healthiness of my fox population, this hard-luck case showed up two nights ago:

1.24.21-possum-crop-small.jpg


The trail camera at the back of the yard caught him first, at a distance. I was overjoyed because due to the hairless tail and hunched posture, I thought I had an opossum visitor. The happiness turned to horror when he got in front of the close-up kitchen yard camera and I realized that it was a fox, absolutely eaten up with sarcoptic mange. On the video you can see his hind legs trembling, from weakness or cold or both. He gobbled up everything in sight, then came back later to check for more. The other foxes were alert to him but kept their distance, even though the other males in the yard have been fighting for territory lately.

I had a little cry over the footage, then got to work. The last time my husband and I made sausage, we ground up the trimmings, flavored them with peanut butter and formed them into little balls, which we give to the foxes for an occasional treat. I dosed a handful of the balls with Ivermectin, and left them in the dish last night, in hopes that poor Possum would be back. To my delight, he showed up as soon as the food went out, and ate every bite of the dosed food. The medication should kill the current crop of mites. In about three days, if he's still around, I'll dose him again. I'll dose every few days, to kill the mites emerging from the eggs the previous batch laid, and so break the pattern of infestation.

I can't do anything about Possum's fur loss but keep feeding him to build up his strength, and pray he has a warm place to den when it gets cold. I so hate seeing wild things suffer.
 
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mrsmig

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Won't his hair grow back after the mites are killed?

In theory, yes, but it takes a while. Wisp, my badly-infected fox from 2017-18, eventually grew back some of her fur and even whelped two kits that spring, but she never regained a full pelt and always looked patchy and down-at-heel. Possum looks awful, but at least he's got a good appetite and eats what's on offer. He's not shy of the food dish, either, which makes me wonder if he's been in the yard before.
 

mrsmig

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Haven't seen much of the local fox population lately. I'm blaming the cicadas: we are just finishing up a month's worth of Brood X emergence, and I think the foxes have been making meals of them and hence not traveling far from home. After several nights of food not being taken, I stopped putting out snacks for them. However, now that the cicadas aren't available by the platterful, I'm starting to see the odd fox.

Maude and Dude, my resident pair, seem to have moved on. Dude was limping badly the last few times he visited the yard, and I was hoping to keep an eye on him, but he hasn't showed up since mid-May, nor has Maude. It was weird, not having any foxes in the yard at all. (We have new neighbors in the house across the way, and they're out on their patio most nights, so their presence may be a contributing factor.) However, at the beginning of June a new fox began appearing intermittently on the trail cam footage. He's a mangy male, but not Possum (who has distinctive notched ears). I put out a little bit of food for him, and once his visits got more regular, dosed some of the food with mange meds. He's gotten two full doses so far. I've christened him Flick.

A second fox with a full coat has visited as well, but only on occasion, and so fleetingly that the trail cams don't catch more than a glimpse. I know it's not Maude or Dude, but beyond that, I've no idea if it's a new fox or a prior guest revisiting old haunts. I'll wait to see if it becomes a regular before trying to name it.

I mentioned on another thread that a mama deer has tucked her baby into an adjoining yard, and comes into my yard to feed most nights. (I believe she's the same doe who was in the yard with a fawn last year - she has a distinctive limp.) She and Flick keep an uneasy distance. Flick won't hurt her, and I doubt he'd try to attack her fawn, but Mama is clearly not taking any chances. She stamps at him if he gets too close. Baby is adorable; I got some lovely early morning footage of the two of them in our kitchen yard when Baby must have been brand spankin' new; all wobbly knees and elbows. We determined that she wanted to jump our gate but couldn't do it with Baby in tow, so we've been leaving the gate open, and putting pans of water and deer chow at the back of the yard. She's used both, and the squirrels are happy to share.
 
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mrsmig

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Dude and Maude are back, and it's been interesting watching them reclaiming their territory from the foxes that moved in while they were gone. Last night was particularly dramatic:



In other news, Mama Doe and Baby are still in residence, along with a young male (Little Buck) and a juvenile raccoon (Bonk). Bonk likes the deer chow we've been putting out, and will even horn in while the deer are eating - which does NOT go over well. Mama chased both him and Little Buck away last night, and this morning even made herself unpleasant to one of the foxes who was cruising the yard, hoping for missed snacks. She may be extra wary since Baby is old enough to accompany her occasionally on her nighttime route.
 
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mrsmig

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My yard has been all-deer, all-the-time lately. Last week we had a big thunderstorm, and as it moved off, I was startled to see Little Buck playing in the water:


I did not know deer got the zoomies!

On the fox front, Teddy is recovering well from his early summer bout with sarcoptic mange, and is looking positively blooming now. Even his brush is starting to fill in. He still has some bare patches on his backside, but I'm guessing in another month I'm going to have difficulty identifying him. Which is good.

 

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My yard has been all-deer, all-the-time lately. Last week we had a big thunderstorm, and as it moved off, I was startled to see Little Buck playing in the water:


I did not know deer got the zoomies!

On the fox front, Teddy is recovering well from his early summer bout with sarcoptic mange, and is looking positively blooming now. Even his brush is starting to fill in. He still has some bare patches on his backside, but I'm guessing in another month I'm going to have difficulty identifying him. Which is good.

Maybe this winter the deer will come back and recreate the pond scene from Bambi for you. :ROFLMAO:
 
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mrsmig

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I've got a couple of new foxes in the yard. Teddy and Dude are still around, but there's a dark-coated male and a beautiful young vixen slowly making themselves at home. Last night there was some vulpine puzzlement over an upended dish in the yard:

 

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My latest hard-luck case. Poor guy has a limp and has scratched himself so hard that he's basically torn off an ear. Naturally, I'm calling him Vincent.

vincent-small.jpg


Dude and Maude, last year's alpha pair, have re-established themselves in the yard, although other foxes continue to visit. I struggled to get meds into Vincent because the other foxes kept getting to it first, but at last he got a good dose, and is about due for another. I seem to have more mangy foxes than usual this winter, although Vincent is definitely the worst case.

He's been looking better since he got the meds. He even stood up to Dude the other night when Dude tried to shove him away from the snacks.
 

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My latest hard-luck case. Poor guy has a limp and has scratched himself so hard that he's basically torn off an ear. Naturally, I'm calling him Vincent.

vincent-small.jpg


Dude and Maude, last year's alpha pair, have re-established themselves in the yard, although other foxes continue to visit. I struggled to get meds into Vincent because the other foxes kept getting to it first, but at last he got a good dose, and is about due for another. I seem to have more mangy foxes than usual this winter, although Vincent is definitely the worst case.

He's been looking better since he got the meds. He even stood up to Dude the other night when Dude tried to shove him away from the snacks.
That attitude towards his fellow wildlife, rather than mange, might be responsible for the ear damage.
Don't know about foxes, but with cats at least, ear ripping seems to be a standard move.
 
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mrsmig

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That attitude towards his fellow wildlife, rather than mange, might be responsible for the ear damage.
Don't know about foxes, but with cats at least, ear ripping seems to be a standard move.
Could be, although from my observations it seems like fox fights are mostly bluster. When they do actually bite, they tend toward body nips, particularly around the neck, shoulders and rump. Cats fight differently: besides having claws, they have more mobile, rounded paws that they can wrap around their opponent, which allows them to hang on and really do some damage.

Couple that with the fact that when Vincent first showed up in the yard, he was constantly shaking his head, which points to a major infestation in his ears. He's stopped doing it now that he's gotten some meds.

Vincent has always been submissive to Dude in the past (he would crouch down, whine and eventually run away when Dude approached), but their little contretemps the other night was actually kind of funny. Dude tried to shoulder him away from the food (typically how fox quarrels begin and end), but this time Vincent just hunched down over his goodies. When Dude tried to push him again, Vincent sat up a bit and put one paw on Dude's shoulder, as if to say "back off, fella." Dude left him alone then - there was other food nearby so they both got to eat.
 

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Could be, although from my observations it seems like fox fights are mostly bluster. When they do actually bite, they tend toward body nips, particularly around the neck, shoulders and rump. Cats fight differently: besides having claws, they have more mobile, rounded paws that they can wrap around their opponent, which allows them to hang on and really do some damage.

Couple that with the fact that when Vincent first showed up in the yard, he was constantly shaking his head, which points to a major infestation in his ears. He's stopped doing it now that he's gotten some meds.

Vincent has always been submissive to Dude in the past (he would crouch down, whine and eventually run away when Dude approached), but their little contretemps the other night was actually kind of funny. Dude tried to shoulder him away from the food (typically how fox quarrels begin and end), but this time Vincent just hunched down over his goodies. When Dude tried to push him again, Vincent sat up a bit and put one paw on Dude's shoulder, as if to say "back off, fella." Dude left him alone then - there was other food nearby so they both got to eat.
Vincent must be feeling better if he's getting fiesty and standing up for himself.
You've done well!
 
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mrsmig

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Every once in a while, a fox will walk in front of one of the kitchen yard cameras at night while the outside light is on. The result is like an oil painting. This is Dude, I think:

3-8-22-so-pretty-dude-small.jpg