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Gray fox visits local backyard

Gray fox visiting a Clayton backyard. Photo by Teresa Boatwright, Clayton, CA
1grayfox teresa boatwright clayton

Thought you would be interested in the above photo of a recent visitor to our backyard. We watched him for about 30 minutes before he hopped onto a rock and over our back fence.
Dan & Teresa Boatwright, Clayton, California

Dan & Teresa:
I love gray foxes. I’m starting to get more and more reports of these beautiful little mammals appearing in Bay Area backyards. As we humans move into their wild territories and develop them with our houses … these small predators are returning the favor and quietly visiting our backyards when we aren’t looking, to use them for their hunting grounds. You were probably short a gopher or two when the fox left. Lucky you! /Gary

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012
Under: Gray foxes | 2 Comments »

Don’t use rodent poisons: They can also kill other animals

Rodent poison can also kill bobcats. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
bobcat brian murphy wc

Many wild creatures living in the urban interface are impacted by eating poisoned rodents. That includes coyotes, bobcats, gray foxes, great horned owls, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, and raccoons, just to name a few.

I looked at some d-con for mice off the shelf at Rite-Aid.  Near the bottom of the label under Environmental Hazards: “Predatory and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten the bait.”

But who reads labels these days.

The Victor Fast-Kill rodent poison just says “it may take 2 or more days from the time of bait consumption for these rodents to die.” They say you can use the stuff indoors or outdoors! The box says nothing about secondary poisoning.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Under: Bobcats, Gray foxes, great horned owl, Rat poison, Red-tailed hawk | 1 Comment »

Gray fox sleeps in trees by day, hunts in backyards at night

Gray fox in tree. Photo by Joe Heath, Point Richmond, CA

I am a resident of Point Richmond.  Before the sun rose this morning I noticed movement about 10 feet up in one of our tall cedar trees at the back of our yard.  The silhouette looked like a fox.  As the light increased, it became obvious that it was, indeed, a fox.  It’s been in the same spot all day about 20 feet up.  I’m assuming it will descend this evening when it is dark.  I read that red foxes rarely climb trees.  So could this be a gray fox?
Julie Heath, Point Richmond, Calif.

Gray fox in tree. Photo by Joe Heath, Point Richmond, CA

It’s a gray fox. Gray foxes have retractable claws, like cats, and they stay very sharp. That’s why it’s easier for them to climb trees than red foxes. Red fox claws always stay out like dog claws and get worn down. The fox probably has a sleeping spot somewhere up in your trees and comes down at night to forage in neighborhood yards for food. That’s how they survive, living in suburbia. Clever dudes. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
Under: Foxes, Gray foxes | 2 Comments »

A fox family is living under our house! Here are some neat photos.

Gray fox cub. Photo by Lila Lippow, Martinez, CA
fox4 lila lippow, mtz

Hi Gary:
I’m hoping you can help me.  I live in the Alhambra Valley of Martinez.  About 2 months ago I realized I had a fox living under the house, and shortly after that I found that there were babies also.  I now have a mother and 4 little ones running all over the yard!

The babies are darling, and I don’t want them to be moved.  It is easy enough to just let them have the part of the yard that goes down to the creek, although I’m a little concerned about what sort of damage they might do under the house, seeing that they are pretty destructive in the yard!
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Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010
Under: Foxes, Gray foxes | 3 Comments »

Gray Fox: Drop right in and make yourself at home

Fox1 nicola jetland

Nicola Jetland of Walnut Creek, CA, took this photo of a gray fox relaxing in her backyard.

Proving, once again, that wildlife is learning to adapt in the Urban Wilderness (your backyard). /Gary

Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2009
Under: Gray foxes | 3 Comments »

Gray fox taking a walk on the back fence (looking for a hen house?)

Fox on the fence by Jack Wall, Livermore, Calif.
fox on fence1

Dear Gary,
My wife and I love to read your column with coffee in the morning. Thank you for all of the good advice and the pleasure you have given us with your animal tales.

During our 10 years in Livermore, we have enjoyed the multitude of birds that have tried to bankrupt us at our six backyard feeds. We are fascinated by the Cooper’s hawks that seem to think our feeders are really smorgasbords for them. We were surprised when the egret and great blue heron stopped by to feast on the fish in our small pond and stayed to pose for great photos. We were delighted when mama quail brought the tiny chicks over for us to see.
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Posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Under: Foxes, Gray foxes | No Comments »

Are foxes raising cubs in your backyard? Check these photos!


Seems like every spring I get more and more reports that red foxes and gray foxes are making their dens under our back decks, or digging them under our garden sheds and raising their kits in our backyards.

Is that true? Do you have “company” in your backyard?

I think it’s time for one of my impromptu little surveys to find out that’s going on.
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Posted on Monday, June 9th, 2008
Under: Foxes, Gray foxes, Red foxes | 64 Comments »