Red Fox

A fox den entrance. Foxes like to make their dens on south-facing slopes near forest edges. They also prefer dry, sandy soil and High Park has lots of sandy soil near forest edges!

This weekend the Ramblers Hiking Club saw a fox den! We noticed 2 entrances about 25 cm wide and a large pile of excavated sand was outside one of them. One of the Ramblers decided this was the “porch”. Red Fox’s underground burrows can be up to 25 m long but judging by the amount of sand, this one isn’t that long. Dens are often on a south-facing slope to maximize warm sunlight and have a good view of the surrounding area.

Elusive, secretive and shy, Foxes live in High Park and stay active all winter long.  Foxes thick tails can be wrapped around their feet and face to keep warm in the coldest conditions. And they manage to find enough food to survive. In the winter foxes eat mostly meat: meadow voles, mice and squirrels. Remains of a fox’s meal can often be found just outside their dens.

With difficult winter hunting conditions, foxes rely heavily on these senses to catch enough food for survival. Foxes have excellent sight, smell and hearing. Amazingly, foxes can locate mice beneath deep snow through use of their hearing. This video shows the fox’s unbelievable winter hunting skills: BBC clip of Red Fox hunting in the snow

A fox track has 4 toes, is about 4.5 cm wide and 5-6 cm long.

We also found some fox tracks! Fox tracks look very similar to domestic dog tracks. However, there are some differences. Dogs tend to explore their surroundings somewhat randomly. Foxes don’t have this luxury and hunt very purposefully. Their tracks reflect this: a dog’s seem random while a fox’s are often straight and careful. We noticed the fox tracks by the den and went along the fallen trees and branches wherever possible.

Foxes often walk along landforms like a ridge, a forest edge or in this case, along a fallen branch. What balance!

For more reading on the wildlife of High Park visit: High Park Nature

For more reading on foxes visit: Hinterland Who’s Who – Red Fox