The fox den camera 2003 Images are updated every minute from 7 AM to 8 PM Eastern Daylight Time daily. At other times, we will show the last frame of the evening or interesting activity recorded earlier in the days previous.
This camera view shows the entrance to a red fox den that is located in sandy soil on a slope above a small pond. It is in the middle of a small clump of trees and brush amid alternating meadow, pasture, and woodlands. A small creek is also nearby. Foxes have used this den for a number of years. The camera is powered by a solar collector and storage battery combination that also powers a small microwave transmitter which sends the camera signal to a nearby home where connection is made to the internet. The best time for catching a glimpse of the fox family is morning and evening.
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
Unlike a lot of wildlife that has suffered as human population has increased, red fox seem to thrive in fairly close association with man. Agriculture opened up a lot of land that was previously forest covered and not so suitable for this animal that thrives in more open habitat. Agriculture also provides grain that is food for rodents such as meadow voles and mice that in turn are a primary food source for fox. The red fox can be a valuable asset in helping to control the rodent population. A red fox has a built in blanket that he carries with him. The bushy tail is curled up around the fox’s body when he sleeps outside. Red fox do not normally use a den except when raising pups.
The red fox belongs to the same family as domestic dogs, wolves, and coyotes. It is has a large, bushy tail that helps to distinguish it from a small dog. The muzzle is long and more pointed than most dogs. Other characteristics are large, pointed ears that stand erect and swivel to focus sound. The total length from tip of nose to tip of tail is in the range of 36 to 46 inches. Red fox weigh between 8 and 15 pounds. The legs are long in proportion to the body.
Not all red foxes sport the rusty colored coat of the namesake. Color variations include a black color phase as well as a variation known as a silver fox. The silver varieties have black fur tipped in white to give a silvery appearance as light plays along the coat. Cross foxes are a darker color overall, and have a dark brown stripe along the back and across the shoulders. Most all of the color variations sport a white tip on the tail. Most red foxes have a double coat consisting of a soft wooly undercoat protected by coarser guard hairs. The Samson variety has the wooly coat without guard hairs.
Although the red fox found in Europe is generally smaller, it is the same species as the fox of North America. The red fox is also found throughout Asia and also in Japan. The red fox was introduced into North Africa and Australia as a result of the sport of fox hunting enjoyed by British Colonialists.
Most fox activity occurs during the hours of dawn and dusk, or overnight, thus limiting conflict with human neighbors. Night vision is enhanced with almond shaped eye pupils that let in more light.
Living near humans may afford some degree of protection for the fox since coyotes will kill fox, and the coyote population is growing in New York State. Human activities such as agriculture, construction of outbuildings, and birdfeeding encourage rodents that are prey to the fox. Small mammals such as meadow voles, mice, squirrels, and rabbits are the primary source of protein for the red fox diet. They will also take birds, eggs, and nestlings when they can and are though to be a significant factor in depredations on nesting waterfowl. The red fox is in fact omnivorous, supplementing its diet with a wide variety of items that include a heavy consumption of fruits and berries in season. Also favored are grubs, earthworms, insects and even fish when they can be caught in shallow water or become stranded. Fox will kill more than they can eat, if food is readily available and hide or cache the excess for later consumption. This is a characteristic that does not endear them to chicken farmers with less than secure pens. Hunting technique relies on the three senses of sight, smell, and hearing that are highly developed in the fox.
Foxes will often pick den sites fairly close to human habitation. Burrows under outbuildings are quite common. The locations we pick to build houses and barns are usually in dry, well-drained places similar to the characteristics desired by the fox. Close proximity to fields and hedgerows as well as a good rodent population are also factors in choosing a den site. Good den sites may be used year after year. In New York State, fox dens are usually old woodchuck burrows that have been enhanced by the fox. The den entrance is from 8 to 15 inches across and the underground part of the den extends up to 75 feet. There are usually several entrances. A breeding pair will maintain a number of dens in its territory, and may move their pups if they feel threatened.
Mating takes place from late December to mid March. Females are receptive just 2 to 4 days per year. The period of gestation is approximately 53 days so young are born from March to May. There may be as many as 10 pups, but the average is 5. The female or vixen, cares for the cubs in the den for the first weeks while the male fox or dog brings her food. Later on, the dog fox will relieve the female with care of the cubs while she hunts. Cubs are weaned at one month and begin to play around the den entrance and practice hunting nearby. At three months they begin to leave the den and hunt on their own. Dispersal of the foxes takes place in the fall with males traveling furthest, sometimes 150 miles from their birthplace. Fox are monogamous, but different combinations of family groupings can occur. A vixen may be tended by more than one dog through a breeding cycle. It is also not uncommon for members of a previous litter, usually females, to remain with the breeding pair and help out with the next year’s litter of cubs.
The red fox is under pressure from the influx of Coyotes into New York State. Coyotes kill foxes when the two territories overlap. Humans are the most important predator on foxes in New York State. Sport trappers take a significant number of red fox, and many are killed on the road by automobiles.
The two most important diseases affecting fox populations are Rabies and Mange. The rabies virus is a deadly disease that is transferable among mammals by the transfer of body fluids as with a bite. Fox are considered an important rabies vector species, although the occurrence of the disease in foxes has declined in recent years in New York State. Mange is a parasitic mite infestation of the hair follicles in the fox. The infestation creates irritation and lesions of the skin resulting in hair loss. The loss of hair can be fatal to the fox with death occurring from exposure.
The apparent increase in fox populations near human habitation may be linked to the growth of the coyote population in New York State. The smaller animal can survive quite well among humans due to its secretive behavior. The fox can become a danger to people if it becomes infected with the rabies virus. Infected animals lose their fear of man and become agitated and deranged and will snap or bite. It is important to avoid contact with such wild animals that do not exhibit normal, or fearful behavior around people. In some places, there have been attempts to control rabies in wild fox populations by the distribution of baits containing a vaccine near den sites.
Although the use of fur in clothing has declined in recent years, sport trapping is still practiced and regulated to provide a sustainable resource. Trapping has sometimes been promoted to kill fox in large numbers to control outbreaks of Rabies. When fox populations have been reduced by such measures, the usual result is a quick rebound of the fox population to fill the void. This is accomplished as dispersing fox populations move in from adjacent areas and breeding success increases due to more available prey and den sites.
The fox is an important predator in the control of rodent populations. The overall benefit to people in this regard should not be understated.