(‘Black Paws’ was picked-up on my Bushnell Trophy ‘Feeder Cam’ just prior to completing his ‘hide and seek’)
I must admit, I find foxes to be fascinating and intelligent animals. I have observed them around my place over the years and never have I seen one sick or mangy looking.
I do realize; however, that the red fox is the largest carrier of rabies but from what I’ve read, the Aerial Baiting programs over the years have really put a dent in the disease. You just don’t hear about rabid foxes as you did 20 years ago.
That is certainly a good thing!
Around my place, the foxes are great hunters too! We’ve watched them pouncing on meadow voles in the back field, and sneaking through the brush in search of a snack.
Although I always knew these animals created ‘caches’ to store extra food, I have never witnessed it first-hand. Nor have I ever realized how long these food caches are kept around.
On January 29th, Mrs Outdoors Guy and I were sitting at our dining room table having breakfast, when Mr Fox(now known as ‘Black Paws’) appeared on the property.
“He’s got a black squirrel in his mouth!” I whispered (I know the ‘black’ squirrel was really just a colour-phase of the grey squirrel, but I still call them black)
By the way, snatching-up a few squirrels is something I do not have a problem with. These critters create havoc on our bird feeders and have chewed through more than a few items on the clothesline over the years!
So, my wife and I watched intently (with camera in hand) as Mr Fox slipped through the neighbour’s fence towards our place and proceeded to drop the squirrel in the snow.
“Look, now he’s digging a hole” my wife said.
Within a couple of minutes, the fox had dug a small cache and was burying his squirrel. We couldn’t believe how he used both his paws and his nose to complete the task.
Since this display on January 29th, we never saw the fox return to his cache and it has since snowed almost a foot!
Then yesterday – March 5 – Mrs Outdoors Guy was getting ready for work when she noticed some movement on the property.
Hey, it’s Mr Fox again. He’s back!!
Evidently the fox had returned to dig-up the catch he buried 5 weeks ago! My wife called me up on the phone and starting taking pictures.
After digging-up his prize, the Fox made short work of eating the well-aged (and completely frozen) squirrel. Since fox’s really don’t chew their food, it gets swallowed in large chunks.
I feel extremely fortunate to have not only witnessed this predatory behaviour, but for my property to play host to it. One’s interest in fish and wildlife can extend beyond hunting and fishing.
Observing and documenting wildlife behaviour and habits is another of my favourite pastimes