These are our new residents who use our deck as an AirB&B. The first time I saw them, I couldn’t believe my eyes. What were they? Since then I have swallowed Wikipedia and discovered that they are Gray Foxes. They are indigenous to the Americas (with a range from Canada to Venezuela) unlike the red foxes which were introduced from Europe to hunt. Red foxes are now predominant in the eastern states but our gray foxes are not at risk.
Felicia, the mama, is sharing a burrow with the armadillos – I wondered why it was so big… From our nighttime camera we can see 2 adults and 4 puppies. Since the pair are monogamous we assume it is a breeding pair with their litter. I believe that they have recently moved into our area from other green belt areas that houses are being built on. We live in a protected forest environment and back onto a reserve (behind that fence).
Felicia is about the size of a cat with longer legs. Their coat is exquisitely patterned and lush. I have had so much fun watching them play and hunt. Mama is mostly silent but quietly mewed at the pups when she returned with a baby squirrel from a hunting trip. They ran out from the deck, one went straight to her teats but she slapped him off to encourage them to eat solid food. They first appeared in the Americas in the Pliocene Era, about 3 and a half million years ago. Gray foxes are the most basic type of canine species and are related to Fennec Foxes.
Like cats, Felicia can hiss and climb trees to hunt or escape predators. She comes down backwards like a cat. I found a large dead wood rat on the deck – do you think it was rent for the deck burrow?? They are crepuscular in nature so that is why we have some shots in daylight but mostly they are nocturnal. Now we finally know why our squirrels are called fox squirrels – they have exactly the same gray with amber coloring.
They have provided much needed balm to my fragile soul over the last few weeks but also terrified Katniss our outside feral. She finally came back after a couple of weeks, very skinny, so I have been feeding her up. The foxes still come and go, so she has fixed her timetable to adjust. The foxes are not a threat to her but she doesn’t perceive that. I guess they all scent where they have been.
My psychiatrist suggested that I should write another post after the last one about suicide and here we are! I have taken two months off work and am beginning to feel better. My apologies for my absence around my friend’s posts – I need to relax. These little foxes have made 2018 a marvelous year, especially since so few people have seen these little critters in our area. I hope you enjoy watching the video of the pups playing in my plants – so cute!!!