The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,359

    Default What does a fox hole look like? Are small dogs in danger?

    There is a hole near the base of a shed six strides from my door. A couple days prior to seeing this den, I saw a fox (Friday Fox) reluctant to leave the immediate area and a recently dug spot. It was just a bunch of scratches in a concentrated spot. I thought maybe I interrupted breakfast. Now those scratches have grown into a…? I’m not sticking my head or hand down there to look!

    Do I need to be concerned about my dogs? Diseases or parasites? How big is the hole of a fox’s den? What are foxes doing this time of year? There is a creek behind the house, mice, birds; the backyard has some award or certification as a backyard habitat.

    My big suburban neighborhood has at least two foxes. I’ve seen one limping down the sidewalk (left hind held up and dangling) in broad daylight with pedestrian and car traffic during after work commute. I saw "Friday Fox" in my backyard after my dog startled it. I fear the fox and my 18lb pup were almost nose to nose before I walked around the corner of the shed. The fox silently trotted away then stopped, faced us, and stood there. It wasn’t moving any further away. I reverted to Cali brain where coyotes eat small dogs and got outta there like a scaredy cat.

    Anybody wanna mail me a game cam to see what's going on?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    14,231



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,359

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    Thanks, Equibrit. So Red Fox are digging dens and courting or mating at this time of year. From the verbal description, this is a fox den. Dirt is sprayed out of the entrance, not patted down.

    In a google image search, it is hard to get a sense of scale on the size of fox holes. I'll try to take a picture. Is the den inhabited during daylight or nighttime? I don't want to set a coke can next to the hole (for scale), get on my knees, aim the camera, and have a frantic fox leap out at me.

    Though I'm super curious, I've been avoiding the immediate den area as best I can.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2003
    Location
    Orlean, Virginia
    Posts
    2,908

    Cool Not to worry!

    Actually, I doubt very seriously it IS a foxhole. It's most likely ground hog. THEY prefer digging holes (with LOTS of dirt piled around it) near buildings. Classic behavior. Foxes don't like to call attention to their dens. The other species is skunk this time of year. Skunks will often try to hide their openings by filling in the hole with grass/hay, leaves, sticks/camoflage. They take over groundhog dens too to nap in winter. Most groundhog dens have multiple holes so look around. You This time of year, both are looking for a nice deep hole to winter over in. Groundhogs will often hibernate down there. All that dirt is clearly from them. Foxes don't dig holes; they take over others already dug. They'll improve them. But this time of year; foxes aren't denning up. Not until later when they have a litter. They don't "live" in dens; they sleep outside.
    Your neighborhood fox sounds habituated to people/pets and is not a danger to any. The only risk your small dog has is if he goes down any dug hole it could collapse on him. Foxes don't eat dogs/cats. Try filling the hole in. If it's redug quickly then it's definetly groundhog.
    Do a search on groundhogs, foxes, dens on this & other boards and you'll see. I have a LOT of experience w/the groundhog/skunk/shed hole scenarios. I got rid of them finally by harassing them to death. The skunk was another story.
    Good luck.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2003
    Location
    Orlean, Virginia
    Posts
    2,908

    Thumbs up oh I forgot to add...

    RE: the nice article Equibrit shared with us.
    I absolutely disagree with a few things. My groundhogs never "patted down" the entrances or dirt piles. Always sprayed dirt all over the place. And the breeding/courting schedule should be adjusted for what part of the country you are in. Huge dens/long tunnels are other species specialties. A groundhog hole can have many entrances & be 30 ft long. They like yards because their favorite food is clover. and tomato plants/ vegetables....



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2011
    Posts
    2,966

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wateryglen View Post
    Actually, I doubt very seriously it IS a foxhole. It's most likely ground hog. THEY prefer digging holes (with LOTS of dirt piled around it) near buildings. Classic behavior. Foxes don't like to call attention to their dens. The other species is skunk this time of year. Skunks will often try to hide their openings by filling in the hole with grass/hay, leaves, sticks/camoflage. They take over groundhog dens too to nap in winter. Most groundhog dens have multiple holes so look around. You This time of year, both are looking for a nice deep hole to winter over in. Groundhogs will often hibernate down there. All that dirt is clearly from them. Foxes don't dig holes; they take over others already dug. They'll improve them. But this time of year; foxes aren't denning up. Not until later when they have a litter. They don't "live" in dens; they sleep outside.
    Your neighborhood fox sounds habituated to people/pets and is not a danger to any. The only risk your small dog has is if he goes down any dug hole it could collapse on him. Foxes don't eat dogs/cats. Try filling the hole in. If it's redug quickly then it's definetly groundhog.
    Do a search on groundhogs, foxes, dens on this & other boards and you'll see. I have a LOT of experience w/the groundhog/skunk/shed hole scenarios. I got rid of them finally by harassing them to death. The skunk was another story.
    Good luck.
    A big DITTO here. Not a fox; more likely a groundhog or skunk. I don't know where the OP is located, but this time of year around here in VA, my vote would be for skunk, as groundhogs aren't normally building new dens this early into the winter. But it's prime time for skunk.

    Oh, & while I'm not up on whether or not a fox will grapple with a small dog (I'm kind of thinking a terrier would be safe, as opposed to a Pug, Maltese, etc., etc.), I have personally seen one run down a cat.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
    Location
    Center of the Universe
    Posts
    6,901

    Default

    personally, I'd much rather have a fox in the backyard than a groundhog (dig giant holes, eat the garden) or a skunk (stinky, rabies risk). Foxes mostly eat vermin, and are really cool to watch. Our fox used to "play" with the dogs- would lure them out to chase him, and then he'd fool them and vanish, and while they ran frantically around looking for him he'd re-appear and bark, then vanish.
    They can carry mange, and occasionally eat someone's cat.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2011
    Posts
    2,966

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    They can carry mange. . . . . .
    Definitely. At least once every couple of years we catch sight of red fox with mange. One time a number of years ago we had one around here that was completely buck naked except for some hair on its face & a tuft at the tip of its tail. Sad.

    I did contact Fish & Game to see if there was anything we could do, but the response was "nada".



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Longing to be where I once was.....
    Posts
    2,157

    Default

    Sounds like a groundhog. If you have access to a cat litter box you can put the " cat deposits" down the hole and they will move on. We have a horrible problem with them here and the holes are just the right size for a horse foot to go into and very deep. I have filled in so many over the last 2 years and I think they have finally moved on. If they have one hole look for several more.

    Foxes got a bunch of my chickens once but I would think your dog would be safe, especially if he was wanting to chase it . My dogs keep every sign of wildlife away because to them everything is an intruder to be chased off.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,359

    Default Surprised if a groundhog. Learn something new everyday!

    Saw plenty of groundhogs and their holes in MD, always in a field. This hole faces woods: specifically a steep slope to a creek with houses on the other side of the creek. Currently I am in northern VA urban sprawl.

    I saw the fox leaving the exact spot with fresh scratch/dig marks. I was excited about a fox den -except for parasites- though scared the fox picked such a busy home (neighbor's house with two kids). Darn!

    Neighbor's cat poops in my shrubbery less than 4 or 5 strides from the hole. I have encouraged my dogs (18lb & 8lb) to pee around to deter raccoons. Hasn't worked.

    Ugh I hope it isn't a skunk though it sounds likely. My old man Joey has had more than one run in with a skunk.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2011
    Posts
    2,966

    Default

    Frankly, it really could be any of the three. If it's a skunk though, you'll most likely smell it. They do leave a bit of their scent around where they're denning, which you wouldn't miss. Unlike other critters, skunk don't worry much about attracting predators, since the only predators they really have are owls & automobiles.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2003
    Location
    Hunt Country Heaven, VA
    Posts
    630

    Default

    A couple of years ago, we had a vixen move her kits into a hole a groundhog had dug underneath our garden shed, which is literally about 30 ft. from our back deck. She had 5 kits and was very unconcerned with our three dogs living that closely. The kits used to bark at us at night when we would walk the dogs out to the pen to do their thing. It was also very cool to listen to them playing and mock fighting with each other. I have some great photos of some of the kits. They stayed there until weaned and then we would see the juveniles out hunting on their own quite often. Loved it!
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,359

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Outfxed View Post
    I have some great photos of some of the kits.
    You know the COTH Commandments! You cannot mention great photos without posting said great photos.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2009
    Location
    Four Corners
    Posts
    785

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bicoastal View Post
    You know the COTH Commandments! You cannot mention great photos without posting said great photos.
    This wasn't directed at me, but I have quite a few fox pictures. I had a family not far from the north side of my house one spring and now I've got a couple that have dug out their home on the side/under my arena (I'm less than thrilled about that.) I even have a pic of one pooping

    Fox pics


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    5,702

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacardi1 View Post

    I did contact Fish & Game to see if there was anything we could do, but the response was "nada".
    Actually, not true. I had 'resident' foxes where I kept my horses in VA and when I viewed mange cropping up, got Ivermeck from my vets. Treatment of two-tenths of a cc, two weeks apart does the trick. One injects a chicken neck or hot dog with the meds using a small syringe.

    The trick, of course, is having a 'feeding spot' you know the fox will be checking out. In my case, our agreed upon location was in a hedgerow along the fence line near the barn. And of course, you don't want to feed foxes or any wildlife regularly, it does them a great disservice. But by leaving bits there sporadically, I could pretty much count on him taking the meds when needed.

    One year, a litter of cubs was pretty mangy- sadly though they became roadkill stats rather than succumbing to exposure (the mange doesn't kill them but the lack of protective hair does).

    Reinfection is always likely, since once the parasite is there, it is pretty much resident in the dens.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2005
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    5,702

    Default

    Answer to OP's second question- no, generally speaking, foxes won't mess with dogs of any size. Or cats, either. They'd much rather just have the dog or cat food! Or your chickens.

    Coyotes are another matter, however, dogs, cats, pet rabbits, all at risk.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2010
    Location
    Gum Tree PA
    Posts
    948

    Default

    Foxes are opportunist when it comes to looking for homes. They have no problem kicking out a resident groundhog and “gentrifying” the neighborhood.
    As to dogs have never been worried about them picking up anything and bringing it home. We did have to dig out a Jack Russell a time or to. PIA



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2003
    Location
    Hunt Country Heaven, VA
    Posts
    630

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bicoastal View Post
    You know the COTH Commandments! You cannot mention great photos without posting said great photos.
    http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/...ed/foxkit1.jpg
    One of the five

    http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/...d/IMG_0469.jpg
    Perspective of shed to house from deck

    http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/...ed/foxkit2.jpg
    There are two here. One is in the shadow on the left, sneaking back underneath the shed
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2003
    Posts
    1,700

    Default Re: mange

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacardi1 View Post
    Definitely. At least once every couple of years we catch sight of red fox with mange. One time a number of years ago we had one around here that was completely buck naked except for some hair on its face & a tuft at the tip of its tail. Sad.

    I did contact Fish & Game to see if there was anything we could do, but the response was "nada".
    Actually, you can set out ivermectin in raw hamburger and that will take care of mange. We had a mangy fox in our neighborhood a couple of years ago and a tube of ivermec in about six meatballs made a huge difference. Mange can kill a fox otherwise.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2009
    Location
    South of the Tennessee border
    Posts
    188

    Default

    Thanks for the link Equibrit, brought back very fond memories.



Similar Threads

  1. Another A=hole neighbor & dogs thread
    By Roxyllsk in forum The Menagerie
    Replies: 51
    Last Post: Oct. 25, 2012, 06:46 AM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jul. 9, 2012, 10:31 PM
  3. Best small hole hay net?
    By pm59 in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: Nov. 29, 2011, 09:58 AM
  4. best small-hole hay net?
    By Hampton Bay in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: Oct. 20, 2011, 10:08 AM
  5. Small hole hay net
    By Kiwayu in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: Aug. 25, 2010, 10:13 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •