Foxes in the Garden

My neighbors have been telling me of their presence for weeks, but until today, I hadn't seen them. I was enjoying my foray through the garden with coffee in hand when out of the woods and onto the wooden path to the garden trotted a red fox. She didn't see me on the patio and I stood very still. She was so comfortable that she just sat down and took in her surroundings. I was reaching for my I-phone to snap a photo when she noticed the movement and fled back into the woods.

Reynard the Fox, an old character from
which the fable "Chanticleerand the Fox"
was taken.
I wasn't totally surprised. Along with the neighbors' reports, we'd heard them but didn't know it at the time. I told a co-worker we were awakened by a sound that made me imagine a giant pterodactyl swooping down over the house. It could be a fox, she said. I looked at her skeptically but she suggested I Google "fox sounds" so I did. Here is what I found:
It sounded just like this: Red fox distress sound
While I don't know what caused the distress, it wasn't linked to the mating season, as that occurs in winter. According to The fox website, an Austrailian site, this is the time of year when the babies are likely still in the den, with both parents feeding them. 
Fox in my garden, courtesy of Photoshop and a
Wikipedia image. This is where it was sitting.
Scale shows the fox a bit larger than it was.

The best site I've found on foxes is on Wikipedia, which explains that red foxes have few predators in this area, with adult cats often seen as competition rather than prey. Which brings me to Maurice. Maurice is a neutered male cat weighing around 10 lbs. (We know this because we took him to the vet.) He's been coming around for a year and my husband started feeding him. Although we're careful to bring the food dish inside at night, it's done a lot to attract raccoons, and as I now know, foxes.

I remember way back when that it was pretty awesome to see deer in the yard. Now it's a call to action that includes spraying stinky stuff and staying awake nights trying to figure out how to keep them out of the garden. Hopefully it won't become the same with foxes. Their main diet consists of rodents, rabbits and raspberries. Although I have seen all of these in the past month, now that I thnik about it, I haven't seen any lately.

I haven't seen tomatoes, peppers and beans on their list of favorite foods, but that could just be a matter of time.

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