|Little Red Fox dropped by this weekend and charmed us with his foxy wiles.|
Red Foxes are often seen in urban and suburban environments, while Gray Foxes avoid human habitation and prefer deep woods. Because Red Foxes like the open fields and forest edges created by humans, they benefited when the European settlers cleared the Ohio forests for farmland in the 1700s. Until then, there were only Gray Foxes in Ohio. Red Foxes moved down from the north as their preferred habitat was created, while Gray Foxes retreated away from the settlements, and today they are found primarily in the deep woods of southeastern Ohio.
|Before he ran off, Little Red stopped and looked back at Chet and me. We were standing on the deck, and he was definitely curious. We didn't move to come after him. We just watched him watching us.|
|Even though he was curious, after a few seconds "Stranger Danger " showed up in his expression, and Little Red headed off.|
|Run Little Red, run...run like the wind!|
|I hope you come back, Little Red!|
So it seems we all have been sharing our suburban yards with Red Foxes for a quite a while, but they go unnoticed mainly because they are secretive and nocturnal. Red Foxes, however, will hunt during the day, and if they are disturbed in their hiding places, they will run too. So if you see a Red Fox during the day, don't assume he is sick. He probably isn't. Autumn is when young foxes leave their parents, setting off to find their own territory, so our Little Red was probably doing just that. Young foxes are even more likely to run during the day. Our yard had an overabundance of rabbits this year. I left a large part of the backyard go wild this summer, hoping to attract more birds by creating a tiny prairie with lots of grasses and wildflowers. Perhaps this helped create an ideal nursery for bunnies, and maybe the foxy Little Red was drawn to the ready supply of food, running water, and large bushes for shelter. Who knows...but from what I read, I bet we will see him again.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife:
- for Red Fox information, click here. and click here.
- for Gray Fox information, click here.
Click here for the New York Times article written by William K. Stevens titled "Red Foxes Thriving in Suburban Woods."
Click here for the Columbus Dispatch article written by Jim Weiker titled "Foxes seek refuge from coyotes in suburbs." (There is a cute video with this article showing a Red Fox family playing in a suburban backyard.)
Click here for another article titled "Red Foxes are on the Rise in Suburban and Urban Areas" by the Brandywine Conservancy's Environmental Management Center.