Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two Years Ago This Week - Red Fox

A Golden Eagle flying along the highway.  Five Pileated Woodpeckers in one tree.  A mink running down the center line of US 127.  A family of seven mink less than ten feet away.  These are just a few of the animal encounters that I have not photographed.

It always seems that the more amazing something is that I see, the less likely I am to have my camera with me.  Red Foxes have always been one of those animals that I have seen only when I had no camera.  Once, while wandering through a marsh I met a fox from a distance of about 7 or 8 feet.  It stared at me for a few second before disappearing away.  Of course,  not a camera in sight.

A running Red Fox (January 14th, 2011)

Two years ago, this week, I took my one and only photograph of a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes).  While I had seen fox many times, it had always been without a camera in my hand.  On January 14th, 2011 I finally saw one that I could photograph.

This fox was checking out muskrat lodges along the edge of an old river oxbow.  I was able to take one photo when it broke into a run.

A closeup of the above photo.
The fox ran in a fairly straight line and disappeared into the woods that surround the oxbow..

The fox tracks are the ones leading away, across the pond.
The Red Fox is a medium sized predator that measures about 2 - 2.5 feet long and has a tail up to 18 inches long.  The fox is light for its size; an adult weighs between 6 and 8 pounds.  It lives in every type of habitat in Michigan and in most habitats of North America other than the deserts of the southwest.  They are more adaptable than most other species of fox and can even survive in urban areas.

Like most canines, it is an omnivore and eats a wide variety of foods.  Its diet includes small to medium sized mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects.  It also eats fruits, such as apples and berries, an nuts.  Like many other omnivores it also scavenges the remains of dead animals.

Despite being a major predator of small animals, the Red Fox also has to worry about becoming prey.  It is eaten by large raptors such as hawk, eagles, and owls.  Wolves, lynx, bobcat, and fisher will also prey upon it.  The adaptable coyote has moved into much of its range and competes directly against the Red Fox for food and territory as well as killing the fox for food.

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