Today I want to discuss an issue a neighbor recently discovered: a red fox that had taken up residence in the neighborhood. This is not new, nor is it necessarily a bad thing. Foxes usually stay hidden from humans while hunting birds, rats, mice, small mammals, and just about anything they can digest. There are many wild animals around our neighborhood, and foxes are among them.
Problems arise, however, when foxes and humans interact. That interaction is often something as simple as a homeowner’s keeping dog or cat food out at night, not using metal trash cans with tight-fitting lids, or not cleaning up dog feces (for, yes, a fox will dine on feces). But other more “proactive” interaction occurs when people try to feed a fox, causing it to lose its natural fear of humans. I even know of instances where someone attempted to erect a temporary shelter for the neighborhood fox.
When any of us tries to treat a wild animal like a domestic pet, that goes against the natural order of things, and no good will result. By all means, to watch and enjoy the fox, but don’t interfere with Mother Nature.
Here are some tips and facts to help clear up any misconceptions you may have:
- Wild animals do not attack for no reason; they attack when provoked. Give them space.
- Wild animals do not need human help to stay warm and fed. Leave them alone.
- A fox sees a small cat or dog as food. Keep pets indoors at night.
- Wild animals are adept at finding trash. Keep trash in cans with tight lids.
- Foxes and rats do relish dog feces. Pick up feces daily; it’s the law.
- If a fox approaches you, clap your hands, stomp your feet, and it will disappear. Do not throw items at a fox since such action will cause the animal to become aggressive.
- Wild animals love debris such as piles of brush or accumulated junk since they offer shelter. Keep your yard clean.
- Finally, report any unusual behavior to Shumaker’s Animal Control. I’m always available to help. Dial 443-854-8072.
Stay safe and enjoy our wild America — from a distance!