Fox Alert!

gray fox

Cute and cuddly and fast. Climbs trees. Eats anything.

The alert is for me, to make me pay attention. You’re looking at a gray fox in the back yard, just underneath a bird feeder. It’s been coming around to eat the sunflower seeds that fall down to the ground.

The way I found it was, I went to let the cat in but she didn’t move: frozen in mid-stride, hair straight up along her spine. When I opened the door a bit more, something whooshed around the corner and out of sight. I thought it was a coyote, although they don’t usually move that fast. Then yesterday I looked out from the living room, and there it was, about ten feet away, licking up the fallen seeds. So now things are coming to a head. For all my life, I’ve “fed the birds.” But suddenly this doesn’t look so good for Callie the Wonder Cat.

Gray foxes are rather small. Barely heavier than the cat in this case (if at all), but it’s likely they do go after pets. It’s hard to find any definitive guidance online. Some sites point out that full-grown cats are a lot for foxes to handle, others say not so. A Twitter follower who lives nearby told me old-timers here say they haven’t seen a fox “in many years.” Well, guess what?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the critters, but something must be done. First step is re-evaluating all the crap I feed the birds (and squirrels, and chipmunks, and raccoons). Last night my favorite local bull raccoon—about the size of a small hog, looks at me and sneers when I open the door and yell at him—not only wrecked my makeshift platform feeder the way he always does but also shit all over it. Maybe there’s a lesson here. The second step would be active intervention. I would never shoot a fox, although I have the means, but I would employ my hand-held freon air horn in the service of scaring him or her to death. The cat would probably run all the way to Santa Fe, but maybe she’d come back.

Gray foxes climb trees, too. No way for the Wonder Cat to make a getaway!

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  • nan November 15, 2013, 11:59 AM

    wow! i have never seen a fox over here. that’s an incredible shot. poor callie cat. time to stop feeding the boids.

    • JHF November 15, 2013, 12:05 PM

      I think so, or buy a platform feeder that doesn’t let the seeds fall out. Just one, I mean, that I can keep an eye on.

      I have tons of shots of that fox, too. Here’s another one:

      • nan November 15, 2013, 12:08 PM

        omg, adorable. so cute!!!!!

        i am not feeding the birds anymore, because the skunks come around all winter to dig the fallen seeds out of the garden. those birds might eat a lot, but they spill a LOT more! my neighbors feed them, so i’m not worried about them starving. besides, i have lots of flower and grass seed for them to dine on.

        • JHF November 15, 2013, 12:31 PM

          I have some pondering to do. Have always been a profligate bird-feeding sonofabitch. Spend tons of money on it, too. Dang.

          • nan November 15, 2013, 1:57 PM

            ditto. it took me a couple of years of close encounters and dug up flower beds to make that decision this year. lol

  • Joe November 15, 2013, 2:51 PM

    I’ve had cats for 60 years and I keep them inside all the time. As of yet none has ever been eaten by a fox.

  • bethie November 16, 2013, 8:57 PM

    hatee hatee hatee ho! What does the FOX say? (always an advert before the video, ah ha ah) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE

  • M.J. November 16, 2013, 11:26 PM

    I use safflower seeds instead of other seeds to feed the birds with a spring action bird feeder with a plastic dome over it (weight of pesky critters close the feeder off). My feeder is at least 4 feet high off the ground. Squirrels and other animals don’t like the taste of those seeds. I am not sure if raccoons or foxes like safflower seeds. We do have all the above pesky critters plus creepy opossums in my area. It has worked for me. You might try.

  • Leanne November 20, 2013, 1:34 PM

    What a beautiful animal!

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