I take my dog on a three-mile drive down the road sometimes to do the morning walk.
I go to a pleasant place in the National Park, a preserved mountain farm with an exhibition of old, old buildings, some native to the spot, some saved from destruction and moved in. It's a teaching site with a docent, illustrating life in the Appalachian Mountains in the last couple centuries.
Nice place, full of old smells, I suppose. Anyhow, the dog likes it.
Driving home with a tired, happy dog I spotted a fox crossing the road and that’s what I’m writing about. Foxes.
This is only the second fox I’ve seen in all my time living here. They’re obviously cautious. I suspect they’re also thin on the ground.
I don’t think folks go out of their way to kill them. We’re a long way from professional chicken farms up here, hunting isn’t allowed in the National Park, nobody local gets dolled up in red jackets and rides across the fields hunting them, and nobody hangs foxes on the front of their pickup to bring them home for trophy bragging and the winter’s meat.
So why don’t I see more foxes?
That’s a big I dunnoh.
I saw them all the time in my small town in Germany.
Join the company of lions rather than assume the lead among foxes.
Talmud, Aboth IV.20
The two foxes I’ve seen locally were both grey foxes. Grey foxes camouflage beautifully in the shadows. They move like cats. In fact, that's what I thought I was seeing this morning till I got a good look at it.
According to Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (who should know) they eat meat like birds and rabbits in the winter and spring, adding more insects and fruit in the summer and fall.
Fruit? Foxes eat fruit?
I mean, who knew?
Grey foxes are “adept climbers, and use trees to escape enemies.” Next time you see a grey fox in a tree, that’s how it got there.
The red fox, which I haven’t seen any of but which is available locally anyway,
is red-furred with black legs and a white tip to its tail.