Presque Isle State Park has been home to the beautiful red fox (vulpes vulpes) off and on for years. The red fox is the largest of the fox species of which there are approximately 25. Since I’ve been frequenting the park for 5-6 years now I’ve had several people tell me they’ve seen a fox on the park, usually crossing the street or quickly scurrying down a path. According to some, the once resident foxes were either run off the park or killed by the resident coyotes.
This year the fox are back in residence! A pair of red fox had a litter of kits. Per DCNR Park Ambassador, Brian Berchtold, the fox litter started out with four kits. One of those kits was hit by a car and killed. What I thought were two of the young, continue to be seen consistently not far from the now abandoned den.
Carrie Duafala, who you may know as the researcher whe tagged and studied the coyotes on Presque Isle (Pacoyotes.com) was kind enough to provide me with some interesting information about the red fox species, including the fact that the foxes that I have photographed are likely the adult pair. This has been supported by the fact that two larger fox, like the ones I’ve photographed and present here, have been seen recently with a smaller fox, likely one of the kits. Carrie also explained that like feline family units (rather than canid family to which the fox belongs), fox young disperse fairly early, possibly staying on the parent’s territory until spring. Despite the solitary nature of the fox, the female young may stay on in the territory and be a subservient member of the loose group and help her mother raise the next litter of kits. I hope they do stick around until spring because I’d love to be able to take some photos of them in the winter snow.
Like other beasties I’ve written about in this blog, the fox have become unusually tolerant of people due to the constant presence of humans on their territory, not only on Presque Isle but around the globe. the red fox has become extraordinarily resourceful and adaptable which is part of the reason it is known as being cunning…”sly as a fox”.
If you should happen to come across a fox or other wild animal on PI or anywhere else, respectfully watch from a distance. Do not approach the animal and just as importantly, do not let the animal approach you. There are ignorant people out there who feed these animals and the animals may approach in hopes of getting a free meal or they may just approach out of curiosity. Either way, yell and shoo them away! It’s safer for both of you.
To see a short video clip of this fox doing some log rolling as she hunts for a possible reptilian snack click here. Notice that the title says “fox kit”. This was before I was made aware that this is an adult fox.