Foxes, Foxes, Foxes
This week's hot topic was a furry one, as more than 120 locals in the communities of Sayville and Smithtown helped us map dozens of sightings of red foxes in their suburban backyards.
- Backyard Foxes: Map Shows Sightings Across Sayville-Bayport
- Backyard Foxes: Map Shows Sightings Across Smithtown, Kings Park
Over the next few weeks we will make similar maps in other Suffolk communities. Meanwhile, here were some dos, don'ts and fox facts shared with Patch this week.
Don’t Feed Them: Conditioning them to human dependence on food hurts their natural and necessary hunting skills.
Don’t Panic: Red foxes roam for food, especially in warm months to feed pup litters and then to teach pups how to hunt. They eat mice, small rodents and even berries and then move along.
Fact: Red fox are the most widely distributed carnivore in the world, and are known to occur in nearly every county of New York State.
Fact: Red fox has a variable diet, likely coinciding with local prey populations and seasonal availability of small mammals and birds. Small mammals such as mice, squirrels, woodchucks, and rabbits comprise the majority of their mammalian diet, while birds such as grouse, nesting waterfowl, and other ground-nesting birds and their eggs are the most important avian food items in their diet.
Fact: Females give birth to litters that vary in number from one to 12, with three to six being common. Young are born blind and helpless, and are weaned by week 12 when they learn to hunt for themselves. Both males and females play a major role in food acquisition for growing pups.
Fact: As temperatures in a fox den with the onset of summer, red fox will move the pups into a new den site every few weeks to minimize exposure to parasites such as fleas.
Fact: The activity of females during daylight hours increases with the feeding demands of growing pups; otherwise daytime is spent resting in regular spots, oftentimes above ground.