Natural Highlights: Gray Fox

  Gray fox on the Greenway

The beautiful Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) is a small canid which resembles the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) in both appearance and habit but is not a close relative, having arisen from a more ancient lineage in the Pliocene.  Because the coats of both species can be variable in color, they can be easily confused. Look for the white tip of the tail on the Red Fox vs. a black tip on the Gray Fox.  Gray Foxes begin their breeding season in January, making dens in dense cover in hollow logs, brushpiles, old groundhog holes, and other protected places.  They are mostly nocturnal foragers for Eastern cottontails, mice, voles, and rats, many kinds of insects, especially grasshoppers, beetles and moths, as well as fruit (persimmons, blackberries, black cherries) and carrion.  The tree climbing ability of Gray Foxes in remarkable; they will sometimes den up in a standing hollow tree, or scamper into high branches to nap or avoid danger, using the strong hooked claws adapted to this purpose.  

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Posted by Cathy Justis at 1:46 PM