Critter of the Month: Red Fox
(Photo from Canva Pro)
“What does the fox say?” That’s a question we may never know the answer to, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the song before! Mississippi is no stranger to the red fox, which is a member of the canid (dog) family. In 1997, the red fox joined the white-tailed deer as Mississippi’s official mammals.
Red foxes can easily be spotted in a crowd, boasting long, rusty-red fur and a white-tipped tail. They are a native species in the U.S. and can be found almost everywhere, except for the Arctic and deserts. They are especially fond of open areas in forests, farmlands, and suburban and urban areas, so don’t be surprised if you stumble upon one in your neighborhood.
These predators hunt for prey such as squirrels, birds, mice, and other small animals. They have an exceptional sense of hearing and can even hear animals scuffling underground. They are almost a blessing to have around, keeping the mice and rats away from the house! Foxes also snack on various berries in the wild. They generally are not a problem in the garden.
Should you be concerned if foxes are frequent visitors in your yard? No, there is no need to sound the alarm. Red foxes are more scared of humans than humans are of them. They are not dangerous, except when they are rabid, which is very rare. Give them their space, and all will be well.
If a red fox appears in your yard, enjoy the view, but remain cautious. As fascinating as they are, they are still wild animals. If they ever become a problem in your yard and you need information on how to control them, contact USDA Wildlife Services or Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
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