Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Across the Nation where Red and Gray Foxes are sympatric, "Grays" tend to be the woodland species with the "Reds" a creature of field and farm.........The two will try and avoid interacting but "Reds" often are the more aggressive of the two........With Coyotes now part of the carnivore guild across the USA, Gray Foxes have sometimes gotten a leg up on Red Foxes due to the tree climbing ability of the "Grays"(can scoot up a tree when a Coyote comes to town!)...........It is noted that when Gray Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes all "mingle, the Wolves will tolerate the Foxes(both species) but look to kill and drive out Coyotes.............It would be fascinating to see if that would also play out in the Eastern USA if Eastern Wolves from Algonquin Park in Canada were transplanted into New England, the Adirondacks and the Southern Appalachians.............

Red Fox, Gray Fox

Northern Woodlands Magazine; Joseph Adams
Route 113 at twilight. The sun’s last gasp now just a smear in the western sky. Early stars over a stripe of asphalt that’s meandering down into Chelsea. My truck upon that road. The sound of tires braking, the engine winding down, the faint hiss of pad on rotor. The red fox puppy, in the middle of the road, stared back at the truck, unsure of how to proceed. He’d been dragging a piece of carcass across the road -- a section of rib cage as big as himself -- but my sudden appearance had foiled his plans. As my truck crested the hill, he spooked, sort of. First he bolted into the bushes, then he changed his mind and darted back out into the road, latched onto the gore, and tried to pull it a bit more. But it was too heavy, and with my truck nearly upon him, he lost his nerve again and headed back into the woods.

There are two types of fox in Vermont and New Hampshire, the red (Vulpes vulpes), and the gray (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Reds appear longer and taller, and grays, with their shorter legs, a bit more catlike. Every once in a while you’ll see a red fox with black fur, which is a natural, though rare, color variation. Sometimes you’ll see a red fox that’s half red and half black. People call the black ones "silver foxes" and the mottled ones "cross foxes," but both are Vulpes vulpes.

Gray Foxes are the only canid that climbs trees

As a general rule, reds prefer open farmland and grays are more at home in wooded
settings, though the home ranges of both species overlap. In Mark Elbroch and Kurt Rinehart’s excellent book, Behavior of North American Mammals, the authors suggest that reds and grays that share the same home range appear to use time-share strategies to avoid interactions. Reds are famously intolerant of each other, and territorial interactions have been characterized by animal behaviorists as barroom brawls.
Both reds and grays suffer from competition from coyotes, a new species that showed up in the Northeast 60 or 70 years ago. Grays may have an easier time coexisting with coyotes, as they can climb trees to escape bullying (they’re the only member of the dog family known to climb), but in one western radio collar study, coyotes still killed one-third of the collared gray foxes. Interestingly, in areas with wolf populations, foxes and wolves seem to coexist peacefully, while wolves treat coyotes like coyotes treat foxes. It’s like junior high, but with sharp teeth.

Gray Fox

 In any case, if you have a fox den under your barn, or your porch, conventional wisdom among naturalists holds that they’re probably there to escape coyote predation. From the fox’s perspective, you’re the lesser of two evils.

Both breeds of foxes are vocal and make a variety of sounds. Most common is a single syllable alarm bark that’s repeated regularly and monotonously. If you hear something that sounds like a cross between a dog and a crow, it’s probably a red fox.

Both fox species are omnivorous and make the most of whatever food source is around: mice, bugs, grass, nuts, you name it. In a few weeks, look for fox scat that’s bright red and full of strawberry seeds.

Mating season for reds begins in February, for grays it starts a bit later. Puppies are born in 50 to 53 days. Parents co-raise the young, and often keep several den sites both for protection and to escape fleas. The female nurses the pups and both parents bring food back to the den. Adults regurgitate food for their young, an act that’s prompted by the puppy licking the nose and sides of the adult’s mouth.

Red Fox

By the fifth or sixth week a hierarchy is established among puppies, and as summer unfolds, the pups explore farther afield. They’re crepuscular -- a fancy word meaning especially active at twilight -- so an evening or early morning walk through a meadow is a great time for a fox sighting.

Back on Route 113, I drove around the carcass, pulled forward about 50 feet, then pulled to the road’s shoulder and turned off my truck. The idea was to pull the free meal out of the road so the fox wouldn’t get hit. But I never got out. In the rear-view mirror, two different puppies materialized, latched onto the carcass, and pulled it, together, back the way they had come.

Joseph Adams is a frequent contributor to Northern Woodlands. The Outside Story is assigned and edited by Northern Woodlands magazine and sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation: wellborn@nhcf.or
Copyright 2012 Bennington Banner. All rights reserved.

No comments: