Red Foxes in the Garden

Last week I caught my first glimpse of something I have never seen before, a fox in my backyard.  There was a little doubt in my mind when I saw it.  Was it some sort of dog that resembled a fox or did I really seen one?  I've never been fortunate enough to see one in the wild just in zoo enclosures but I today I can definitely confirm what I thought I saw last week. We have two red foxes living in our yard.

Last year we had a little mascot named Murry. I never really spoke about him at all but he was here munching on rotten tomatoes that weren't good enough for us to eat. I would toss them out into the yard from the garden and when I wasn't around Murry the groundhog would saunter over and eat some garden tomatoes.  He lived in a little hole on the slope alongside our house.  You might ask why if I have foxes am I talking about groundhogs? Foxes like to make their homes in abandoned groundhog holes, hollow logs, and other similar spots. We haven't seen Murry in a long time, since last fall before his hibernation. Whether he moved on or passed away, I can't say, but in the current Spring Hill, TN housing market there are always homes looking for new residents!

This explains some other things too.  Over the winter months (Jan.-Feb. mostly) I remember hearing odd sounds outside at night. I had assumed it was coyotes off in the distance but now I realize that maybe it was the mating calls of the foxes.  They mate during that time of year and new kits are born in the spring. When the kits are about 3 months old the begin to learn how to hunt. I wonder if we'll be fortunate enough to see some young foxes scampering through the yard? Here's a quick slideshow with some pictures I took this morning:

Here's one of the cropped pictures of the foxes from the slide show above. The tall ears, fuzzy tail, and black fur on the legs are a dead giveaway.


The two foxes did a whole lap around our yard. They must have been having fun. The shot below was from inside our kitchen looking out at the backyard. Unfortunately all these pictures were taken through a pain of glass otherwise they might have been more clear.

The foxes ran right through our yard and into a neighbor's but I could still see them through the trees. From the information I have read about red foxes they generally don't bother cats and almost never tangle with dogs. As long as they aren't destructive or threatening I'm content to let them live where they choose.  They are definitely more unique than the animals we usually see around here! 
As the telling of every tale/tail must do this one has now arrived at ...
...the end!

For a little more on Red Foxes visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

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