Then one night this spring we saw two foxes in the vegetable garden when Pepper erupted with a loud cry of fear off the bed. They again sat with little fear when we flicked on the light. Since then we've seen either one or two foxes several times as they race past from somewhere.
The most upsetting was when Pepper came racing into the house banging the cat door in her hurry and I yelled for Farm Boss and ran out to see what it was. The fox was in the rock garden and our guard-dog cat, Blackie, turned to chase it off since I was there as backup.
I stood quietly to avoid Blackie getting himself in trouble as the fox panicked trying to get away. The fox banged off the other end of the fenced yard as it had only one place it could get in-- or obviously out. By this time we knew foxes can climb like a cat.
Until we began to research them (after their latest entry into the supposedly safe-cat yard), we did not know that they have semi-retractable claws. They can pull them up some when they run and use them to climb. They actually prefer to nest in trees or hollow logs but will den up in the ground.
They are the oldest of the dog family and almost prehistoric with their mix of skills. I got curious regarding the sounds they might make and realized we have been hearing them around here for awhile thinking they were birds or raccoons.
Be sure and listen to the YouTube. If you hadn't already been aware, they have 40 different sounds they can use to communicate.
Someone told us many of the raccoons in our area died off during a recent parvovirus outbreak which might explain the increase in the fox population. They are gorgeous little animals and have a very catlike look to them. I don't want them in the yard with the cats. They are pretty much the same size animal. While Blackie would try to fight one, he's not a trained killer as a fox must be to survive in the wilds. Research says they would not attack a grown cat but I don't know. They are certainly fascinated by the cats.
The dog world is not overly friendly to other species within it as the fox will be killed by coyotes-- which might explain why they like hanging around humans. The coyote will be killed by wolves-- and wolves kill other pack members and sometimes even within their own.
We also learned foxes are somewhat omnivorous and eat fruits and vegetables, when available, so in that they are raccoon like-- and might explain holes through the years that I have seen in tomatoes thinking they were from slugs.
Foxes are beautiful but they are way too close to the house and have gone back into the supposedly safe-yard now several times. The most recent two of them, who appear younger, possibly twins, and they had a hard time getting out but it hadn't stopped them coming in. I am not sure what we will do about this fox family to discourage their entry into our fenced yard where especially two hunting together might be a danger to our cats.
First photos from April 2012:
May 12, 2013:
May 15, 2013 and the twins were back-- in the fenced yard which had recently been re-secured to the point it looks like a big bird cage. Not a cage to prevent foxes from entering obviously.
One wanted out sooner than the other but it had the most trouble going back the way it had come. When the one sitting by the pool finally decided to go out, he/she did it with ease. The other one became more desperate and was beginning to worry me that he/she would end up trapped and we'd have to figure out how to get it out of the wire. The one thing I can say for them-- they are not easily discouraged.
To have the wild visit you is cool... but it has a downside.