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Moose
2006-Jan-15, 04:36 PM
Wow! I just happened to look out my back window (without my glasses, of course) and spotted a familiar shape.

There'd been rumors of a fox having made its way into the greenbelt between my street and the street further down into the valley. We'd caught a glimpse of it at night across the street in the yard behind the nursing home before christmas, and the shape certainly suggested fox or coyote rather than loose dog, but I couldn't get a good enough look to be sure.

After I ran to grab my specs, well lo, there it was as plain as day: a fox. Trotting around on the snow just behind my back yard.

It didn't occur to me until it was well out of range to run for my camera, but without even a mediocre zoom lens, it wouldn't be much of a shot I'm afraid.

So far, it hasn't been much of a nuisance, and from what I could see at a distance, it looked healthy enough. No obvious signs of rabies, fairly confident lope, moving around in the open at noon.

But here's my question: assuming the fox isn't in any special distress changing its behavior, how much of a danger is it likely to become to the local pets and younger neighborhood kids as it gains confidence in its general safety?

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-15, 04:45 PM
first of all, are Foxes really that rare where you live?

As for the danger, I don't see it being much of a danger to children or babies, the reason is because babies are always occupied by adults, and children are lowed floppy creatures that run around in circles most of the time, not much interest in that I would think. But they can be sneaky creatures, they are most of a threat to pets that are caged up in chicken wire, or chain link, they can break into that easily and snatch a chicken or five or a puppy or toy sized dog with no problem.

Lianachan
2006-Jan-15, 05:04 PM
Reminds me of something that happend in London a few years ago. I was visiting my mothers cousin, and was standing in their lounge - it had big patio windows that opened out to the garden. I was asking if there was much in the way of wildlife around, because there was some green and some trees. He said that there'd been talk of foxes, but he'd never seen one. I said "What?! There's one there!" and pointed outside - I'd been watching a fox in his garden for a couple of minutes. It was, in fact, what made me ask!

trinitree88
2006-Jan-15, 05:19 PM
Reminds me of something that happend in London a few years ago. I was visiting my mothers cousin, and was standing in their lounge - it had big patio windows that opened out to the garden. I was asking if there was much in the way of wildlife around, because there was some green and some trees. He said that there'd been talk of foxes, but he'd never seen one. I said "What?! There's one there!" and pointed outside - I'd been watching a fox in his garden for a couple of minutes. It was, in fact, what made me ask!


Suddenly, through the greenery...appeared a group of hounds, Prince Charles all dressed in regalia, horns tooting....and a jolly good time??lol:D

Moose
2006-Jan-15, 05:42 PM
first of all, are Foxes really that rare where you live?

They're very common in New Brunswick, but as timid as they usually are, this is the first time one's ever made its way into the middle of Campbellton, and I have never before in my lifetime seen one bold enough to be roaming around in broad daylight.

Although we do have a pair of very bold skunks we've seen wandering yards in daylight hours, even my neighbors tending their flowerbeds didn't dissuade them from coming out for a look.

They're so bold that I now have a habit of snapping my fingers, or clapping my hands (once my knuckles get sore) regularly while I'm outdoors to let them know I'm moving around nearby. I'd hate to startle them.

I may call Natural Resources on Monday to let the rangers know he's out there, see what they want to do, if anything. They may want to try and relocate him.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-15, 05:51 PM
Not sure about your area, but I know that Forestry is the major industry in Campbellton, so could this be why he was pushed into your area?

Just a thought...

Moose
2006-Jan-15, 05:58 PM
There are a number of pulp and paper mills in the area, but the logging all take place a fair distance from here. At least 20kms or so.

The greenbelt wouldn't be all that hard for it to wander into from the woods to the south, I suspect it just wandered in some evening last autumn, and progressively got bolder as it realized it had no real competition or predators here. Considering the number of ground-feeding pigeons and chipmunks there are to be had in this area, not to mention the garbage buffets every week, it may be doing fairly well.

GDwarf
2006-Jan-15, 08:00 PM
Something similar happened to me the other day, My dog wanted out so I go to my patio door and look out, as I always do, to make sure it's not after a rabbit, and sitting on my fence was a 7 inch or so owl. I never knew how fast they could turn their heads. Anyways, it turns out that it was likely a saw-whet owl (http://www.owlpages.com/owls.php?genus=Aegolius&species=acadicus).
As my house borders a small forest it's fairly common to see many birds, but owls and hawks are rare.

Lianachan
2006-Jan-15, 08:07 PM
Suddenly, through the greenery...appeared a group of hounds, Prince Charles all dressed in regalia, horns tooting....and a jolly good time??lol:D
We've got a lot of wildlife here - deer, sheep, werewolves, haggis... you name it!

Moose
2006-Jan-15, 08:10 PM
Heh. That actually reminds me of something that happened five years ago. Some kind of small raptor took a bird right off my neighbor's feeder. It struck so fast that not even my bird-watching neighbor knew for certain what it was except to narrow it down to being some kind of hawk or falcon. All I saw was a blur.

And there I was, in the yard, watching my indoor cat (previous owner declawed her) have a supervised romp in the grass while shooting the breeze with my neighbor. Thankfully, she (the cat, not the neighbor) was napping in the shade under the boat and likely not conveniently visible or accessible from the air.

Moose
2006-Jan-15, 08:12 PM
We've got a lot of wildlife here - deer, sheep, werewolves, haggis... you name it!

You know, I really hate it when the haggis migrate. It's such a nuisance to clean up after them; the mess they leave behind.

MrClean
2006-Jan-15, 11:21 PM
I used to work on a golf course where the pro managed to tame the little buggers feeding them sandwiches and such. He convinced the parks department to get their pictures on the scorecards and everything. 2 years later we had to have them trapped out as they had the most terrible habbit of digging up 4 greens. I'd push the sand in and try to re-lay sod in the morning only to come back and have to do it again the next day. Don't know how many foxes were in their union, but they sure did make a 4 foot deep hole between dusk and dawn. They trapped out about 47 if I remember right.

Having learned from their wildlife mistakes, the ladies club convinced the same golf course to buy 10 white geese and clip thier wings so they would stay on the golf course. Where they immeadiatly set about covering the greens in poop and knocking balls around and attracting the lovely Canadian geese who then changed the population from 10 to several hundred. Oh it was magnificent.
We finally convinced the geese that there was better landing grounds. I don't know what the next fiasco was as I haven't been back to work there, but hopefully they will have learned their lesson. I wouldn't put minature sheep past them though!

Foxes? Don't feed em and hopefully they'll stay at the proper levels.

Roving Philosopher
2006-Jan-16, 03:37 AM
Not too long ago, my wife and I took our son for a walk down by the river (there's a park along the river, but it's in the middle of the Twin Cities). We saw a fox crossing the street coming from an apartment complex. I'd never seen a fox in the city before. It was rather odd.

Swift
2006-Jan-16, 03:43 AM
A fox should be absolutely no danger to kids or pets, unless you have a pet mouse or rabbit that you let run around outside. LINK (http://www.enature.com/fieldguides/detail.asp?source=&parkid=&searchText=&allSpecies=&shapeID=1028&lshapeID=0&curAbbr=&lastView=default&lastGroup=5&lastRegion=&lastFilter=4&lastShapeName=&trackType=&curRegionID=&size=&habitat=&fruit=&color=&sortBy=family&curFamilyID=&regionSelect=All+regions&regionZIP=&curGroupID=5&lgfromWhere=&curPageNum=9)
They might not be all that rare around you, but they are very secretive. I've only seen a red fox in the wild about three times and I've never seen a wild grey, though they are around too.

Moose
2006-Jan-16, 11:02 AM
Ah, thank you Swift. That's reassuring.

I've got the camera ready in the off chance I spot it in the yard.

farmerjumperdon
2006-Jan-16, 01:33 PM
We had a badger set up housekeeping right next to our driveway (rather rural area). It moved a lot of soil in one night. The tunnel was pretty narrow, but there must have been a decent size cavern in there because our dog went in (barely fit) and came out head first. Never saw a sign of it again, probably didn't realize there were humans so close by. I did use the big pile of sand it dug up to help loosen the garden soil.

gethen
2006-Jan-16, 02:12 PM
We were passing through Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan this fall, and as we pulled out of a gas station on one of the small city's main roads, a fox ran across that road about 20 yards from us. This was less than 1/4 mile from the University and maybe a hundred yards from the interstate. I suspect that foxes are generally just so good at stealthy travel that most people won't see them even if they are nearby. We see them occasionally around here, usually in the evening or early morning.

ToSeek
2006-Jan-16, 03:04 PM
I was driving to the local subway station a few years ago, when I was still working downtown, and saw a fox with a beautiful red coat dead in the road. Very sad.

jfribrg
2006-Jan-16, 05:14 PM
I agree that a healthy fox is no danger to anyone, but you should always be suspect of a wild animal that behaves in an abnormal manner. In my area, I have seen a number of foxes in daylight, but as long as they run away when they see me, I don't worry. If it were to just sit there and show no fear of humans, I would worry that it might be rabid. Same thing with racoons or opossums or skunks, etc.

Maksutov
2006-Jan-16, 06:27 PM
We have quite a few foxes that visit the neighborhood around here (it's pretty rural). BTW, foxes are quite adept at handling severe weather. There's been at least one that has been hanging out at the summit of Mt. Washington, NH for a few years now. Here she is. (http://www.mountwashington.org/photojournal/2005/hi-res/2005_12_21.jpg) Current conditions up there are -9F with steady 97MPH winds gusting to 120MPH, resulting in a -43F wind chill. The fox (or foxes, I'm sure there're more than one) have made it through even worse conditions: two years ago it was -45F with 150-180MPH winds for over a week.

For digging damage it's hard to beat armadillos. Little buggers were born to burrow. They get themselves run over on a regular basis, and are referred to locally as "possum on the half-shell".

Geese belong in the air, in ponds, or cooked, but not on golf courses... :evil:

Gillianren
2006-Jan-16, 07:33 PM
One of the nice things about Olympia is that it's a city with lots of undeveloped bits. We're fairly close to one of them, which is down by the lake less than a mile away. I went walking around the lake one fall day, and I saw salmon, deer, herons, ducks, and all sorts of other wildlife. So much different than back home, where wildlife pretty much meant coyotes that'd wandered into the area in hopes of rummaging through people's trashbins--and skunks, a family of which took up residence in my neighbor's backyard one year.

Moose
2006-Jan-16, 10:39 PM
My aunt and uncle have a small covey of phesants and a hutch or two of rabbits living in the narrow band of woods between their backyard and a cross-city highway.

If you're up first thing in the morning and look out their back sun window without getting too close to it so that they spot you, you'll usually see them wandering about the yard. They're so peaceful to watch.

LurchGS
2006-Jan-16, 10:55 PM
I live in a suburb (used to be a rural town, but Denver has grown, and now, so to has my town. I need to leave)..I the 5 years I've lived here, i've watched 6 billion rabbits, a family of foxes, a bunch of coyote, and an infinite number of Canadian Geese puttering around the neighborhood. The foxes and coyote are probably just dropping in for a snack...

The rabbits love my back yard, though - or did until we got the puppy. The dog (110 pound American Tundra Shephard) we got the puppy for (50-60 pound mutt) was friends with the rabbits.. He'd go out back, go nose-to-nose with a bunny or two, and wander off. The rabbits would return to munching the weeds...

Moose
2006-Jan-16, 11:06 PM
Lurch: Awwwww. Hee hee, that must have been something to see.

That reminds me of my previous cat, born quite feral but having adopted my family (rather than the other way around), who'd apparently made friends with a local skunk. The cat would half-doze on the porch after dark, patiently waiting to be let in for the night, unconcernedly watching the skunk hunt worms on the front lawn about fifteen feet away. Neither animal was in any way concerned about the presence of the other.

We were pretty cautious about how we called in the cat, let me tell you.

Another strange event was the morning the (same) cat went nose to nose (in the bad sense) with a transient raccoon! The cat was NOT backing down either. We barely averted a nasty fight between the two. The raccoon bolted up our tree, the cat ducked in the back basement door.

That feral lived sixteen and a half years, most of it as an outdoor cat with indoor priviledges. She was one heckuva cat. I miss her.

LurchGS
2006-Jan-16, 11:15 PM
I can groove on that.

We tend toward indoor cats (my wife does, I'm a dog person). We had this domestic/bobcat mix though. She lasted about 5 years before feline leukemia got her. Her favorite sleeping place was the recliner. Problem was, it had to be reclined... she'd get up a head of steam and leap half way across the room to hit the back of the recliner, causing the chair to lay out flat, whereupon she'd curl up and go to sleep where the seat meets the back...

(nothing to do with foxes or coyote, but we did see a moose once from that place)

captain swoop
2006-Jan-17, 10:25 AM
In the UK urban foxes are quite common.
Getting the train into Charing Cross from Eltham every morning I would see loads of them sunning themselves by the trackside. A flat I lived in backed onto the Royal Blackheath Golf Course. On the grassy strip between the flats and the trees surrounding the course a whole family of cubs used to come out and play every day. The local kids would occasionaly try to chase them but they were off before they got close. Everyone used to feed them.
A pair of Peregrin Falcons had a nest on a ledge opposite the offices I used to work in on Oxford Street, they used to catch pigeons. In the trees surrounding the golf course there were Woodpeckers, Jays and owls. All in a supposedly urban, built up area.

Heid the Ba'
2006-Jan-17, 01:07 PM
As the Captain says, urban foxes are very common here. There are a number in the area of central Edinburgh I live in, they are by no means tame but aren't frightened of humans either. I have walked along a footpath for about 100m following a fox about 10m ahead and it paid me little heed, other than to occasionally glance my way.

They seem to co-exist with the large numbers of cats in the neighbourhood without any problems. It is exteremly rare to see foxes in daylight but equally rare to drive accross Edinburgh at night without seeing one.

More surprising are the number of deer living on farmland in Fife and the central belt of Scotland, I used to regularly see some from the Glasgow-Edinburgh train and we often see them in Fife.

Edit:typo

Lianachan
2006-Jan-17, 01:15 PM
More surprising are the number of deer living on farmland in Fife and the central belt of Scotland, I used to regularly see some from the Glasgow-Edinburgh train and we often see them in Fife.

Part of my drive home from, well, pretty much anywhere, involves a 40 mile stretch of single track road. When I drive along that in darkness, I'm pretty much constantly weaving amongst herds of deer. They look really tasty!

:)

Heid the Ba'
2006-Jan-17, 01:35 PM
I'm surprised how few people recognise deer. They see them but think they are cows or goats or something, they just seem unable to place them since there can't be deer in the Lowlands.

captain swoop
2006-Jan-17, 01:39 PM
I live in Guisborough now on the edge of the North Yorkshire moors, behind the town are hills covered in Pine plantations and old Oak woodlands all belonging to Lord Guisborough and the national park authority. When I am out mountain biking I often see deer in among the trees, they don't hang around long though. When all the footpaths were closed in the 'Foot and Mouth' epidemic a few years ago they got realy bravee and came down to the edge of the town.

Swift
2006-Jan-17, 02:05 PM
The deer population in much of the northeast urban and suburban US has gotten so high that it is an on-going problem. The main (organized) control for deer population is hunting, but that is usually not allowed in urban and suburban areas. With no predators (even human) and abundant food, the population skyrockets. In some areas, the main cause of death for deer are accidents with vehicles.

There have been attempts to control deer population, either with birth control (which doesn't seem to work) or with controlled shoots, which brings out the animal-rights types who complain about killing the "bambi's" (wkyc.com (http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=45811)). My solution, re-introduce wolves!

Lianachan
2006-Jan-17, 02:08 PM
My solution, re-introduce wolves!

There's talk of that round these parts, too. Deer overpopulation is becoming a problem (for the deer, more than anybody else - there's not enough food for them all). Due to the general public ignorance about wolves, there's quite a bit of opposition.

gethen
2006-Jan-17, 02:17 PM
Overpopulation of deer has reached the level of a serious problem around here. It's contributed to a resurgence of tuberculosis in the wild deer population and that, in turn, has led to the recurrence of tuberculosis in domestic cattle that share grazing land with the deer. I believe that both Michigan and Minnesota have now found t.b. in cattle as a result.
Not to mention the increased likelihood of hitting a deer with your car in the evening or early morning--something I've experienced myself to the tune of $2500 damage.

Hamlet
2006-Jan-18, 02:29 AM
Last April we had a fox den at the edge of our backyard. She had five babies and we got to enjoy watching them play for about 3 weeks before they abandoned the den. Here are some pictures I managed to make:

Braveheart 1 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0011.html)
Braveheart 2 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0012.html)
Braveheart 3 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0013.html)

We nicknamed this one Braveheart because it always stayed above ground even when the other 4 got spooked.

This (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/index.html) link has the entire set.

Lance
2006-Jan-18, 02:31 AM
Last April we had a fox den at the edge of our backyard. She had five babies and we got to enjoy watching them play for about 3 weeks before they abandoned the den. Here are some pictures I managed to make:

Braveheart 1 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0011.html)
Braveheart 2 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0012.html)
Braveheart 3 (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/slides/Foxes-0013.html)

We nicknamed this one Braveheart because it always stayed above ground even when the other 4 got spooked.

This (http://www.csh.rit.edu/~steve/Foxes/index.html) link has the entire set.
TOO cute!

sts60
2006-Jan-18, 03:56 AM
Suburban Maryland, northwest of D.C., has quite a bit of the "urban/rural interface" so congenial to certain types of wildlife, plus quite a bit of water, undeveloped land, and farmland nearby. Whitetail deer are prolific here to the point that the authorities are going to shoot a number of them in the county and state parks nearby. The d**n Canadian geese are everywhere, too; periodic control efforts are made such as "addling" their eggs. Plus the usual rabbits, squirrels, and woodchucks outside my office window.

Foxes are not quite so evident, but I've seen them roaming the neighborhoods occasionally. One was trotting through a patch of ground recently scraped clean for development with a "what the h*ll?" look on his face - well, I probably imagined the look. I've also seen what appeared to be an albino skunk waddling down the sidewalk late at night, thwarted an eastern king snake attempting to raid our office supply cabinet, and my wife saw a beaver waddling through a busy parking lot - apparently they travel through the storm drain system.

More interestingly, while black bears rarely come down out of the mountains* to the more populated areas, there are indications that the clever and hyperadaptable coyote has infiltrated the area and that the cougar (aka mountain lion) may be returning... perhaps the deer population will require less artificial reduction in the near future.

It's not exactly Wild Kingdom here, especially to someone who's lived in the deserts, forests, and mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Alaska, but it represents the experience of an increasingly large segment of the U.S. population as sprawl brings ever more people into contact with "Nature".


*well, what folks around here call mountains.

Swift
2006-Jan-18, 02:26 PM
<snip>
thwarted an eastern king snake attempting to raid our office supply cabinet,
Who knew that king snakes use office supplies? :D

jfribrg
2006-Jan-18, 10:23 PM
In Philadelphia a few years ago, they thinned the deer herd in Fairmount park by hiring a single sharpshooter, and putting out a large quantity of corn in the middle of a snowcovered field. It is far too dangerous to let a bunch of hunters loose in an urban park. A reporter asked the sharpshooter how many bullets he would need to kill the 200 deer. His reply: 200.

Lianachan
2006-Jan-18, 11:50 PM
Slightly related (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4523200.stm) - deer/road management from Scotland.

Swift
2006-Jan-18, 11:52 PM
In Philadelphia a few years ago, they thinned the deer herd in Fairmount park by hiring a single sharpshooter, and putting out a large quantity of corn in the middle of a snowcovered field. It is far too dangerous to let a bunch of hunters loose in an urban park. A reporter asked the sharpshooter how many bullets he would need to kill the 200 deer. His reply: 200.
That is exactly what communities and parks around here have done (when protests haven't stopped them). They then give the butchered meat to local food banks.

Moose
2009-Jun-29, 01:43 PM
Update: This is, of course, a bump, but I just thought I'd update you guys.

The foxes are still there, they had a pair of kits this spring. Unfortunately, it's looking like they've exhausted their food supply. They've started going after family pets now. They took a cat (we don't know whose) this morning, and yesterday, Dad (and my neighbor) stopped them from mugging my neighbor's dog. They'd had it surrounded.

The word is spreading around the neighborhood to keep pets indoors, but I'm worried that if that 'dries up' too, that they're only one street away from the local elementary school, and kids do go through that greenbelt. At the even less likely, but still within the realm of possibility end of the spectrum, they're also one street away from the local nursing home. (And they have been seen in that yard pretty often.)

We're looking at options. DNR doesn't get into critter relocation anymore, but while we can do it ourselves, relocation is going to be ineffective in the long run unless we can nab that female early on.

PraedSt
2009-Jun-29, 09:56 PM
A fox would attach a child? Or are you worried that some kids will get hold of the fox?

Tinaa
2009-Jun-29, 10:08 PM
I know that down here we have several wildlife rescue groups. Have you searched for one up there?

Moose
2009-Jun-29, 11:24 PM
A fox would attach a child? Or are you worried that some kids will get hold of the fox?

I'm not so much worried about what one fox is likely to do. I'm worried about what the four of 'em are able to do together if they get desperate enough. They are capable of bringing down a child if they decided they wanted to badly enough.

And they're showing signs of being close to being that bold and/or desperate:

Found out today that our (other) next door neighbor looked out her window this morning to see one of the foxes looking back in.

None of that is normal fox behavior as far as I've ever heard. Only explanation I have for all of this is that they're out of field mice and squirrels to prey on.

Tinaa, I know of no such group in our area, but I've never gone out of my way to look. It's a good idea. I'll go see if one has a net presence.

PraedSt
2009-Jun-30, 01:06 AM
I'm still amazed they had a go at the dog. That doesn't sound like the foxes I know.

If you think it's a lack of food that's doing this, have you and your neighbours considered feeding them? Scraps and such like. It might give your community some breathing space.

Of course, no doubt it'll just make them even bolder...:doh:

chrissy
2009-Jun-30, 08:39 PM
I wouldn't feed them as it will just encourage them to stay around the neighbourhood.

Tinaa is right in what she says, contact a rescue centre or if there is a park ranger they will know what to do.

The dog situation is a bad one maybe the vixen is trying to teach the cubs how to hunt and a small dog on a chain is easy pickings for any hungry animal.

I always thought foxes hunted alone, they are solitary animals normally unless they are mating and/or have cubs.

I found this info for you here on foxes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Fox) hope it helps.