This Red fox has been seen in the Village of Woodville. Photo by Jill Huftel
This Red fox has been seen in the Village of Woodville. Photo by Jill Huftel

Submitted by Debby Walters

WOODVILLE, WI – Perhaps you have seen him/her: a slender black-legged animal with a reddish body, long bushy tail with a white tip?  Mostly fur and long legs weighing about 15 pounds.  A red fox has taken up residence in Woodville.  It is pretty neat that he is adaptable enough to live among us and it is a treat to see him.

There are several reasons why he might have chosen Woodville as his home.   The first: food.  Foxes are not fussy eaters.   The yards, gardens and parks in Woodville provide good hunting for a variety of rodents, squirrels, birds, and rabbits. When really hungry, bird seed, pet food and grasshoppers will do. Garbage cans are an added bonus.  The second: shelter.  Those same yards, gardens and small wooded areas of town also provide shelter and Woodville has several sources of water, another essential.  The third reason a red fox has taken up residence in town may be the presence of coyotes in the more rural areas surrounding Woodville.  Coyotes do not tolerate foxes in their territory and may force them to relocate.

Red foxes tend to be most active from dark to dawn; however, Woodville’s fox is seen frequently during the day.  The other day he was even seen sitting in the middle of BB for a spell. 

If there is a pair of foxes, perhaps people will even catch a glimpse of their kits later this spring.  The young are generally born in March or April in a den that has been dug out by the vixen or abandoned by some other burrowing animal.  Generally, there are 5 kits in a litter but sometimes up to 12.  The young begin life with gray hair but that switches to red at two months of age.  Learning to hunt begins at about 9 weeks of age.  By next winter, the young will be out on their own, establishing territories nearby or far away.   The female (vixen) generally stays close to the den but the male (dog) has a territory of from 5 to 19 square miles.  The size of the territory depends upon the abundance of food available.

Is the fox’s presence a cause for alarm? Doubtful.  Generally, they avoid people, but scavenging for easy food might make them less cautious.  If someone has been feeding him (please don’t), that could make the animal bolder, but they can be easily scared away.  The natural tendency is to flee.  During the pup raising season, they might growl or hiss at you and stand their ground.  Leave the animal alone.  It is key not to feed or touch the animal, it is to our and their advantage for them to avoid us and for us to observe them and leave them alone.  Rabies is very rare in red foxes.

Here’s hoping you see this beautiful creature.