Holly, Straw, and the Fox - UPDATE November 12, 2018

Holly has more bedding to share with Lucky than I’ve ever seen in a wild den. And they seem to love it. Gray fox on railingGray foxThey lay on the springy mounds of it, immersed deeper than any bear I’ve seen. Instead of bedding that shields their sparsely furred undersides from the soil, it covers their sides and more, providing extra insulation. Sharon, you’ve been very good to these bears. Lucky is aptly named. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgJiPwU3p38

Fox hole under garageFox hole under garageThe same gray fox with the black dot by the corner of its mouth visited again and I learned that it uses the hole that leads into the garage (shown about to enter it). I don’t know if it lives in the garage or just uses it when it stops by.

Today, when it came up onto the second floor deck, I cracked open the door, extended my hand, and dropped a piece of bologna. The fox retreated 5 or 6 steps down the stairway, watched me drop it, and came up and took it as I shut the door.

20181112 Gray fox railing2Gray fox on railingThen I dropped something new. Donna had cooked 10 drumsticks for me a couple weeks ago before she went off to the grandkids in Colorado. I only ate two of them. Today, she told me to feed the other 8 to the foxes. The fox grabbed the drumstick from the deck with gusto, ran down the steps and made off with it up the driveway and around the curve over 250 feet away. It doesn’t usually go that far away. When it returned I dropped bologna again. The fox carried the bologna to the edge of the woods where it looked like it was burying it. I don’t know much about foxes and didn’t know that this is a common behavior.

Gray fox with bolognaGot the prizeIt ate the next piece just under the rear of the blue 4-wheel drive pickup I’m driving for the winter, but I definitely saw the fox bury the next piece in the snow just like I later saw described on the Internet at http://mynarskiforest.purrsia.com/ev7rcach.htm. The fox dug into the snow, dropped the bologna, and used its nose to carefully push snow over it.

Gray fox jumpingNow to go stash itWith another drumstick, I opened the door wider so the fox could fully see me. It understood. It was the same when I opened the door only a crack. Progress. It carried the drumstick far off again. I left a big drumstick to reward its next visit, which I happened to see an hour later as I got up from a nap (started the day at 5 AM). That drumstick was its last visit. The fox left me to get some work done on the computer while it pursued other agendas. It’s been 7 hours and counting, now at 5:25 PM and getting dark. Flying squirrels will be gliding in soon. A drumstick is just outside my window in case the fox comes again.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center