Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

 

Red Fox - Photo courtesy Jake Dingel/PGC
Red Fox – Photo courtesy Jake Dingel/PGC

I saw a red fox trotting across the lawn. I was at work walking down the hall and happened to glance outside. A skinny, rusty-colored young fox ducked beneath a set of concrete stairs.

At this time of year, young red foxes often strike out to find their own territories away from their siblings and parents. They need space to hunt and feed and too many individuals in a small area often won’t find enough to eat.

For awhile scientists and naturalists thought that the red foxes here in eastern North America were the descendants of imported English red foxes. Apparently, Americans wanting to emulate the English landed aristocracy imported red foxes to use as prey in fox hunts.

Genetic studies confirm that the red foxes in the east are not the same strain as European red foxes. The imported red foxes died out without a trace. All the red foxes you see on the east coast are indigenous.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Common name: Red fox

Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes

Family: Canidae

This is the time of the year when I often see red foxes, swiftly jaywalking across busy urban/suburban streets or unfortunately dead beside the road. I have an affection for them.  It is something about their intelligence and super powers. They have extremely sharp senses of sight, smell and hearing (they can hear a mouse squeal 150 feet away).

I think if any animal would make a cool super hero, red foxes would be it.

A great book I used for information was Behavior of North American Mammals (Peterson Reference Guides) by Mark Elbroch and Kurt Rinehart.

 

8 comments

  1. […] Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) (donnallong.com) […]

    • Hi, Melissa

      Sometimes, I can only share what I see on my blog readers. In Philly, some folks hyperventilate at the mere though of a “wild” animal anywhere near them.Luckily, there are folks here in Philly who are just as thrilled with “wild” critters as I am.

  2. Although we live in the woods (Indiana), we only get to see the local foxes when the lake upstream from our creek freezes over in the winter causing the ducks to move downstream to our creek which continues to flow due to springs. The fox come to stalk the ducks on the sandbanks, hoping for a meal. We enjoy these rare sights and someday hope to have our camera with us to get a picture.

    • Last year, when I went to the Lakota Wolf Preserve, I learned some humans tried to keep red foxes as pets. In the house. The smell, not to mention the scent markings, must have been unbelievable.

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