A red fox has been hanging around the farm since mid-March, which is a long time for a predator that tends to stay on the move, usually roaming a home territory of two to three square miles. It’s been our experience that a fox will stay for a few days, then move on. I suspect the reason she’s still here is that she has young stashed in a den somewhere, which means she has six to eight extra mouths to feed.
Red fox are very common in North America. There are 47 different sub-species of red fox globally, and their color can vary widely, but no matter the color, members of this species always have the signature white tip on their tail. The one we’re seeing now has a lot more gray than the one pictured below (courtesy of the Fish and Wildlife Service). Their bushy tail helps with balance and keeping them warm.
I got a good look at our visitor one day while watching her play with a vole or a mouse in our orchard. She’s a beautiful, healthy-looking specimen. I took a shot at her with a pistol, aiming over her head, to scare her off, but it didn’t scare her enough to keep her away. She is still coming back throughout the day, desperately hoping that the chickens have somehow escaped from their run and she can choose the fattest one to take home to her kits!
She will eventually exhaust the food supply here, and her offspring will be old enough to move on. When that day comes, we can let the chickens out again to free range — at least until the next predator comes along!