For some reason the coldest weather seems to bring out the foxes in winter. Every year, while the temperatures are at their worst, I’ll see tracks and trails forming all over the property. Sometimes I’m lucky to see the fox too as I did this time when I spotted this fox running through the snow on our backyard pond. I don’t know why foxes decide to pick the coldest possible nights to go exploring while all other wildlife in Muskoka is taking shelter. My only guess is that when the temperature gets extremely cold, enough to penetrate the underground burrows of rodents, it might get those rodents on the move, perhaps trying to dig deeper or working harder at insulating their nests. If that’s what’s going on then that flurry of rodent activity would get foxes on the move too.
Foxes on the property had a large family last summer. The young kits seemed specially curious about me. When I went out at night and set up the tripod to photograph the night sky I often had little foxes hanging around at my feet trying to figure out what I was up to.
My very large 20+ pound cat seems to like the foxes too and spent many summer nights trying to visit them at their den. The adult foxes weren’t too pleased about it and let off alarm cries for hours until the cat backed off. I often saw the cat trotting back up the driveway escorted by a small fox or two following behind. It always looked as if the foxes wanted to be sure the cat got back home safely. As soon as the cat came back inside the foxes knew they could resume hunting for rodents safely too.
I like having the foxes around and seeing the kits playing in the grass is a lot of fun too. I hope they are managing to find enough food and warm shelter to keep them going through the very cold month we’re having.