I promise I’m winding down my photos from Denali this year. One more after this one. This is a cross fox, a color phase of the more commonly seen red fox. The black stripe down the back, with another one across the shoulders forms a cross, hence the name we give it “cross fox”. The animal is, for all intents and purposes, a red fox. In the wild, it’s not unsual for various color phases. They can be the typical orange-red, silver, grey, black, or a combination (like the cross fox). All red foxes have a litte tell-tale marking, regardless of their overall coloring – they all have that little white tip on their tail. A true silver fox, which is another species, doesn’t have that little white tip.
Foxes are a pretty cool little critter – very cute. In Australia, where I’m from, they’re regarded pretty widely as vermin, largely because they’re an introduced animal, and they do tend to wreak some havoc on the native wildlife. The early British settlers in Australia bought red foxes out to Australia so the gentry folk could, obviously, go fox hunting. This smart move was followed, and perhaps “upped” by bringing out the rabbit. Why the rabbit? So the foxes would have something to eat, of course. Now Australia has all kinds of problems with rabbits and foxes. Another sidenote is that in Australia, I almost only ever saw the typical red fox .. I saw maybe 2 cross foxes in my life before I came to the US, where they seem to be far more common. I’m not sure why that is.
Red foxes are native to the US, though some people speculate that they were mostly introduced by Europeans here in the 18th century sometime, probably in southeast US. Who knows. One cool thing about foxes is that they’re the only member of the dog family, canids, who can’t bare their teeth. They sure can bite though. I saw a lot of foxes in Denali National Park this year, probably because the snowshoe hare population is so high. I saw 2 solid black foxes but was unable to get any images of them, as they were moving pretty quickly, quite a ways off. This little cross fox, was quite close, and not too concerned at all.
I’m always really surprised at how approachable and tolerant foxes in the US seem to be of people. In Australia they’re hunted so much, or rather, shot at, that they’re very skittish. In lots of places in the US, foxes seem to be reasonably approachable, which makes taking their picture WAY easier.
Much like squirrels, foxes will cache their food for leaner times. But, rather than build a nest and store it all in one place, foxes usually stash their goodies all over the place, all across their territory. I guess this makes it less likely that a marauding bear or wolf might steal it all. Cunning, like a fox!