Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) are common in North America. Indeed, Red Fox is one of the most geographically widespread of the carnivores in the world, not endangered by any stretch of the imagination. But these wild, night wanderers are not often seen. When you are fortunate enough to see one, even from a distance, it’s beauty is often undeniable – the magnificent tail, the color of the coat, the white chest, those black socks and ear tips! Such a wonderfully painted creature! Oh the artful contrast! You can see why they have been widely hunted for their coats. And why a Russian scientist, Dmitri K. Belyaev, once went to great lengths to breed a human friendly version of the fox to make harvesting pelts easier. (His experiment failed in the sense that the coats also changed as they were bred for the friendly traits.)
The Red Fox has been hounding me. There is no defined beginning to when they started making themselves known to me… But lately I have been cracked over the head by them trying to get my attention! This summer I found a full and elegant fox carcass in the woods. I left it there but for three teeth brought home in my pocket. I’m not a scientist but could tell this fox was older, fully grown and had used it’s teeth well.
A few weeks ago I sat with a very quiet and sleepy Red Fox at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, you can see it here. A few days ago I was wandering around Jardin Botanique in Montreal, taking photographs. While studying a row of trees to photograph I looked down and there was a beautiful Red Fox just four feet from me, he looked so large – I suppose because I was not accustomed to seeing one so close. He stood a moment, then started scratching… And I reached for my camera.
After allowing me a few close photos and finishing his scratching he began to move away, pausing next to the trees to look up and drool over the fat squirrels he spotted. It was a thrill to stand so close to a wild creature so unafraid of me, I wanted to reach out and stroke that red fur. The fox eventually made its way into the First Nations garden next to us… Not before totally making my day! As I stood marveling at what I had just experienced the squirrels in the trees were screaming with fear or relief!
On my bike ride home from work yesterday a lovely Red Fox trotted up the road toward me, I stopped and watched it walk by me – ears perked to the east… It paused by the road just a short distance from me and I watched as it zeroed in on something in the tall grass. It’s body tensed, back arched, as all attention and energy were centered in front of him in the grass. Suddenly the fox leapt and pounced! Whatever it was going for managed to escape, he kept looking for another half minute and then moved on along the road away from me.
Red fox you’ve got my attention!