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Fox behavior - carrying prey

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  • Fox behavior - carrying prey

    Yeterday morning, about 7AM, I saw a beautiful fox (deep red body with a darker head and tail, if it makes any difference) carrying something in its mouth across the field. It stopped by my manure pile, carefully put the "treasure" down, and then POUNCED one something behind the tree (I could not tell if it was a successful pounce or not). It then carefully picked up the treasure, and trotted off toward the driveway.

    I was under the impression that the only time they carried food home was when there was a litter to feed.

    I was also under the impression that this was too early for cubs (hunting is still going on, and I thought they stopped before whelping season).

    Can someone please clarify things for me.


    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

  • #2
    It could have been a toy rather than prey. A couple of our neighborhood foxes developed a fondness for dog toys. One of our neighbors raided the den and walked from house to house returning dog toys, curry combs and other items from the den. Our foxes are also fond of taking dog biscuits home to the den. I half expect to see a shelf of biscuits in the den, saved for days when the foxes don't catch any rodents.


    • #3
      We had a family of foxes on the farm that would steal halter fuzzies. We'd find them outside the den all the time. I don't know whether the horses actually let the foxes pick them off the halters, or if they rubbed the fuzzies off and the foxes just took the fluff away.


      • #4
        Was he wearing a mask ?
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          Spring is in the air in NJ I wouldn't doubt nesting has started


          • #6
            Could have been the male carrying food home to the female who is either near whelping or has just whelped.
            At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
            (Author Unknown)


            • #7
              I turned a corner on Stuart Mill Road in VA years ago and startled a momma and two cubs. One of the cubs was carrying a mallard drake and dropped it on the road, being startled by my car. I stopped 30 yards or so down the road and watched events unfold in my rear view mirror. Momma and cubs sat on the bank above the road, Momma apparently told junior 'hey, you dropped it, now you have to go and get it.' Junior worked up his courage and went back into the road and with some difficulty got his prize back in his mouth (this was July or August, so cubs figured to be 4-5 months old). When he got back up the bank, the three of them continued on their way.

              At a number of golf courses, including the one just down the road from us, the foxes den along the course and are fond of swiping golf balls. In fact we have red fox in this neighborhood because that particular course, when it first opened in 1959, developed a bit of a 'gophers digging unauthorized holes on greens' issue. So they brought in a truckload of red fox and released them. They coexist fine with the coyotes, by the way.


              • #8
                The old timers will tell you that all red fox are born by March 15th and all greys by April 15th.

                Assuming that is correct, the cubs would not be old enough to eat solid food even if born early.

                So it is much more likely that the fox was carrying whatever it was just because he wanted to.


                • #9
                  The ones here will steal halters/ anything with leather left out.