Ever wonder what kind of animals roam around Camp Foley? One of the most popular among those who frequent camp is the Minnesota Red Fox. Several Camp Foley staffers have spotted foxes here on the grounds; most recently, near the boys’ cabins. The foxes are particularly popular with our camp office “mascots” (dogs) Norm and Nike, who seem very interested in being let out to chase them!
While the “Red” Fox can actually be black or silver-black in color, most have a rust-colored pelt with black legs and a long, bushy white-tipped tail. They average 15 to 16 inches in height and weigh between 8 and 15 pounds.
The Minnesota Red Fox can run up to 30 mph and jump as far as 15 feet. They are most often seen at twilight and during the evening hours when they venture away from their dens to hunt.
Foxes have a dog-like appearance because they are members of the Canidae animal family – a group that includes dogs, wolves, and similar creatures. While foxes tend to stay quiet to avoid detection, they can bark, yelp, and make many dog-like sounds when necessary.
Unlike dogs and wolves, foxes are not packed animals. They live and hunt alone, except for a short period of time while raising their young with a mate. During those months, both parents venture out to hunt alone and bring their catches home to the den to feed their “pups.” Within a year, the fox pups grow to be large and independent enough to leave the den and live on their own.
As omnivores, Red Foxes feed on rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds, snakes, lizards, fish, insects, berries, nuts, and seeds. They use their keen eyes, ears, and sense of smell to locate prey. A fox can detect the sound of a burrowing ground squirrel or a lizard rustling through the brush, from several yards away. But since foxes hunt alone, rather than in packs, they must often use clever cat-like tactics to track, stalk, and pounce on their prey. These hunting techniques are believed to be the inspiration behind the old phrase, “sly as a fox.”
Foxes are one of the few predators that occasionally store food underbrush or buried in the ground for use later. While harmless to humans – a fox will usually run as soon as it sees you – they do have a few natural enemies. Coyotes, dogs, and humans all compete for territory and hunt foxes.
At Camp Foley, our “Foxes” is our youngest camper group. Like their animal namesakes, Foley Foxes learn valuable skills that they can continue to use throughout their lives.
What animals have you seen here at Foley? Let us know!
(For pictures, info, and to hear the sound of a fox barking, click these:)