Our Furtive Foxy Friend

“A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.”
Ruth Brown

 

The Fox

The North American Red Fox aka the Vulpes vulpes

Around dusk this past evening, I was on my walk and saw what appeared to be a fox. We have lots of coyotes roaming the city, but a fox? I must have been mistaken.

It piqued my curiosity, so I did a little research about the fox. I found out some interesting facts about foxes on a California website.

The fox, the smallest member of the dog family, is a highly adaptable species that inhabits mostly forest, chaparral, and desert regions, but can be found in nearly all habitats. There are three types of fox common to Southern California, including the Gray Fox, Red Fox, and Island Fox. The Southern California Kit Fox, a subspecies of Kit Fox, died out in Southern California in 1903.

Foxes are more solitary in their habits than are others in the dog family. They are territorial and can be aggressive, especially during the breeding season. Their once-a-year breeding season corresponds with the availability of food.

Despite the fact that urban foxes use human buildings for shelter and human refuse for food, their contact with humans is quite limited. Most people who live in an urban area have never seen a fox in the city. Foxes keep a nocturnal schedule, and in the nighttime are often mistaken for dogs when they are seen.

Red Foxes, the most commonly recognized fox, are known for their cleverness and have the largest range in North America. Although they are close relatives of the Gray Fox, they are considerably larger, normally ranging in size from ten to fifteen pounds. Their coats may be reddish or gray or even black, but their legs and feet are always black. The tail is tipped with white.

In California there are two populations of Red Fox- the native Sierra Nevada Red Fox, a threatened species found only in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, and the more common, non-native Red Fox. Non-native Red Foxes were introduced decades ago for fox hunting and fur farming. Over time, these foxes escaped or were released. Their populations have grown and gradually spread. Currently, they have been spotted throughout the lowland areas of California including the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, San Francisco Bay-Delta area, the Southern California Coast Range and Coastal Plain and in most major urban areas.

Socially, the fox communicates with body language and a variety of vocalizations. Its vocal range is quite large and its noises vary from a distinctive three-yip “lost call” to a shriek reminiscent of a human scream. It also communicates with scent, marking food and territorial boundary lines with urine and feces.

Now after reading about the fox, I’m positive it was a fox that I saw. I know it wasn’t a dog, because it had all the mannerisms of a fox.  Plus, when the fox saw me, it gave me that look that only can be given by our furtive foxy friend.

Shine On

Galapagos Baby Tortoises

“Never discourage anyone,
who continually makes progress,
no matter how slow.”
Plato

 

Galapagos Baby Tortioses

In the mid-eighteenth-century sailors first set foot on the Pinzón Island triggering an environmental disaster. Unbeknownst to these sailors, they brought rats from their first ships that quickly multiplied, as rats tend to do.

One of the islands inhabitants was the Galapagos tortoises, who had few predators. Slowly, these tortoises began to disappear due to these rats feeding on the Galapagos eggs. The rat invasion was so devastating to this ancient tortoise population that for over the next century not a single tortoise egg hatched. As a result of our human activity, it placed the Galapagos on the endangered species list until now.

Beginning in the 1960s, researchers, scientists and even Governments worked to save the Galapagos tortoises by eradicating the islands rat population as well as increasing and protecting egg hatchings. It took over 40 years of dedicated hard work, but it is paying off tenfold.

Thanks to organizations such as the Galapagos Conservancy, and human interest this gentle giant is now returning to Pinzón. James Gibbs, a Professor and Researcher who works with the Galapagos Conservancy, in Fairfax, Virginia said, “I’m surprised the turtles have given us the opportunity to make up for our mistakes after so much time.”

Dr. Gibbs recently reported that his team detected an estimated 500 turtles currently living on the island. He also reported that, thanks to years of working to save these turtles, they are seeing more and more Galapagos baby tortoises.

Shine On

Sweet Creature

“Sweet creature, sweet creature
Wherever I go, you bring me home
Sweet creature, sweet creature
When I run out of road, you bring me home”
Harry Styles

Harry Styles

I haven’t had a celebrity crush on someone in quite a while. Although, Hugh Jackman is probably my last crush. Not only because of Jackman’s looks, but he is the epitome of Hollywood talent and compassion. However, in the past year I’ve been listening to Harry Styles’ music. I must say, I’ve got my first celebrity crush of 2020.

If you’re not familiar with his music, give him a listen to. Every single one of this 25 year young mans songs, which he writes, is exquisite and sweet sounding. You can hear his Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and Simon and Garfunkel influence in his music. From his song “Watermelon Sugar”, to “Adore You”, I can’t get enough of this talented artist.

Whether I’m home writing, relaxing, on my daily walk or driving somewhere, I’m listening on Spotify to the wonderfully gifted and charismatic Harry Styles. Who also happens to be a sweet creature.

Shine On

Here’s Harry performing Sweet Creature.