I first came in contact with today’s featured animal when I was just a boy. My Dad had running hounds when I was growing up and liked to sit at night and listen to them as they trailed the local coyote population and on occasion, the red fox. He even went so far as to buy a pair of fox kits to raise and release in the woods and hills south of our house. He made a den out of an old water heater and when they were old enough to fend for themselves, buried it in the side of a hill with a fence around it. Once he thought they were accustomed to the den, he removed the fence and allowed them to run free. Considering the fact that he had turkeys and chickens, that may sound like a strange wish, to have more red foxes running around, but that’s what he wanted. This gave his dogs something to chase at night and he had something to listen to as he sat on the porch or around a campfire. This may sound cruel, to be chasing the red fox, but keep in mind that the dogs never caught up to one. Those little red fox were too smart for that.
The red fox is well known in America as a cunning and smart animal. Some might call it the raider of hen houses. Looking much like a small red dog, the red fox is specialized for one thing and that is to hunt. Do you remember what I said about the Great Horned Owl last week, how it has specialized ears to locate it’s prey? Well, those pointed ears on top of the red fox’s head do the same thing. They are able to hear a mouse squeak from 150 feet away and pinpoint it’s location to within one degree. How’s that for accuracy? Their ears are also attuned specially for low frequency sounds, such as that same mouse digging underground. This is unique among all other canines have ears that are sensitive to high frequency sounds. Their sense of smell is extremely fine-tuned as well, much better than the average dog, although probably not as good as some dogs that are specially bred for scent hunting. Their eyesight is good, but could be better. They use it less than their other senses, in their ongoing hunt for food.
Speaking of food, that is one other thing that the red fox has in common with the great horned owl. Do you remember how it was determined last week that if it moved, the great horned owl considered it to be food? The same could be said of the red fox. Although they prefer meat, with mice, squirrels, and rabbits being high on the list, they also eat crickets, grasshoppers, beaver, birds, raccoons, the list goes on. They will also eat fruit, with it amounting to 100% of their diet in the autumn, in some areas. So in this case, you can see that even if it doesn’t move, the red fox may still consider it to be food.
Here is a general description of the red fox, from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
Red foxes are members of the dog family Canidae, and their general appearance is similar to dogs, wolves, and coyotes. The European red fox is the same species as the American red fox. The red fox measures 22 to 32 inches (56-82 cm) in head and body length, and the tail is 14 inches to 16 inches (35- 43 cm) long. The adult fox weight is from 6 to 15 pounds (2.7-6.8 kg), but it appears heavier than it actually is. The males, or “dogs,” are usually heavier than the females, or “vixens.”
Something the above description doesn’t mention is the red fox’s tail. From a casual glance at the red fox, it is quickly apparent that it’s tail is longer than is normal in most animals. According to what I have been able to determine, the tail is usually around 70% of the overall head and body length of the animal. Something that isn’t readily apparent is how the red fox uses it’s tail. When it is hunting, it’s preferred method of hunting is much like that of a cat. It will stalk it’s prey, sometimes allowing it to come to them. Once it is close enough, the red fox will launch itself into the air, leaping as far as 5 meters, or nearly 16.5 feet, coming down on it’s target. While it is in the air, the red fox uses it’s tail to steer and make course corrections.
Another attribute that the red fox is well known for is it’s speed and agility. It can run over 31 mph and jump fences that are over 6 feet tall. It also swims very well. Between this and it’s cunning, it’s no wonder my Dad’s hounds never caught up with one. Speaking of my Dad, something else that is worth noting is how wrong he was to expect the fox kits he purchased to stick around the man-made den he provided. The only time the red fox uses a den is during the mating season. Other than that, they much prefer sleeping out in the open. Even in cold and snowy weather, they will curl up and use that long tail of theirs to help keep them warm. They will sometimes allow themselves to be completely covered with snow and still have no trouble staying warm.
There is much I could write about the red fox. This post is already over 900 words and I could probably write another 900 with ease. As it is with most of this series, I never run out of things to say about these animals and the way God created them. I say it every week, but they are truly amazing. Now, to the hunt for links.
4Walls and AView gives us further insight to some of the changes Dominique has went through after being exposed to a toxic chemical.
A Conservative Teacher says our federal government needs to let go of education.
A View from the Right has his take on Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s statement about Christian brothers and sisters.
Always On Watch gives us her view on Ron Reagan Jr. and his statements about his father, President Ronald Reagan.
American and Proud had some fun with liberal hypocrisy.
America’s Watchtower outlines one of the problems of a Tim Pawlenty presidential run, as well as some of the Republican prospects for 2012.
Bunkerville wonders if property confiscation by the government is any different than armed robbery.
Capitol Commentary tells us all about the $41 billion unemployment secret.
Conservative Hideout says the rhetoric during the debate over repealing Obamacare crossed the reality barrier.
Conservatives on Fire wonders if public employee unions could be a valuable tool for the Republicans.
The Country Thinker has a list political discourses and wonders which of them fall under the category of civil.
Eastern Right has the story of the glitzy dinner the President and First Lady threw for Chinese President Hu Jinato.
Fleece Me explains to us what American Derangement Syndrome is and what we can do to fight it. If you only read one post from this list, this should be that post.
The Lonely Conservative tells about the state of Illinois and how they are sticking it to business owners.
Maggie’s Notebook has the story of a baby killer/doctor in Pennsylvania.
The McCarville Report tells us about his personal firing range and talks about carrying his concealed weapon.
Motor City Times questions the idea that politics in the 80′s was more civil than they are today.
Muskogee Politico tells us about the effort to cut back on the spending for public art in Oklahoma.
NoOneOfAnyImport reminds us to keep the faith.
One Mom wonders if women should be allowed in military combat units.
Paladin’s Page details the relationship between oil, spending, and national security.
Questioning With Boldness has a list of the diplomatic gifts received by President and Michelle Obama. It’s much more than I would have guessed.
Reporter 37 thinks the Democrats are protesting too much about the Republicans spinning their wheels on the repeal of Obamacare.
Republican Redefined has an essay on political civility and bipartisanship.
The Right Opinions has a video interview of Kamal Saleem, a former terrorist.
ToBeRight has a closer look New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s possible ties to terrorism.
rjjrdq’s America II tells us that Darrell Issa is wanting the help of the American people.
Robbing America details the mad dash to save Obama’s second term as President.
Sentry Journal describes some of the irreconcilable differences between the left and the right.
Spellchek says we need to follow the advice of President Ronald Reagan and act worthy of ourselves.
teresamerica has Senator Pat Toomey’s idea of how to deal with the question of raising the debt ceiling.
What Would The Founders Think has a crossword puzzle for you to try.
WyBlog gives us the story of a labor department dispute that may have ramifications for Girl Scouts and their cookie sales.