The reports are flying in to the nature center: foxes are everywhere! During the past couple of weeks, folks are seeing all sorts of Red Fox activity and some very interesting behaviors!
Last week I saw a pair of foxes mating in a field, a persistent male fox trying to haul away a dead Canada Goose, a fox trotting along with a massive chunk of meat clamped in its jaws(see photo), and a battle between foxes that involved lots of snarling and mad dashing about.
What’s all the fox fuss about? Well, the explanation is both easy and difficult. Right now is the peak of the mating season for Red Foxes– that’s the easy answer. Why we are seeing so much daytime movement of foxes is the important question.
Foxes are typically crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Duing these periods of low light, a fox’s prey is also highly active– the mice, voles, shrews, birds, and other small animals that make up the bulk of this canine’s diet.
With cold weather upon us and higher caloric demands, foxes are ranging far and wide in search of food. The rigors of the mating season also mean foxes are spending more time protecting their territories, which may be several hundred acres in our more rural areas or as small as a suburban neighborhood. Foxes have taken readily to suburbia, with its surfeit of food in the form of garbage, rodents, pet food, roadkill, and even small pets (yes, your housecat is considered potential food by Vulpes vulpes).
Have you seen any foxes lately?
One of the most dependable places to watch foxes lately is the new DuPont Environmental Education Center on the Wilmington Riverfront, where a resident pair of foxes is often seen hunting around the edges of the marsh and near the nature center. Be sure to visit and search for these crafty canines!